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Full text of "Abraham Lincoln and the abolition of slavery in the United States"

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http://www.archive.org/details/abrahamlincolnab00lela2 



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ABRAHAM LINCOLN 



AND THE 



ABOLITION OF SLAVERY IN 
THE UNITED STATES 



CHARLES GODFREY LELAND 

AUTHOR OF "HANS BREITMANN's BALLADS," "tHB EGYPTIAN SKETCH BOOK, 



ETC., ETC, 



NEW YORK 

G. P. PUTNAM'S SONS 

27 AND 29 West 23d Stbeet 

1885 



THE Ni:.W YORK 

PUBLIC LIBRARY 

5 6 12 6 

ASTOR, LENOX AND 
TILDEN F^l'"'DATI0N8. 

r' 1912 L 



COPYRIGHT BY 

O. P. PUTNAM'S SONa. 

1879 



PUBLISHERS' NOTE 



N issuing this second edition of Mr. Leland's 
biography, the publishers have taken occasion 
to correct a few errors in dates and proper names, 
and in citations from documents, that had crept into 
the first edition. 

The book was prepared during the author's resi- 
dence abroad, where he did not have at hand for 
reference all the authorities needed, and as it was 
stereotyped in London the above oversights were 
not at once detected. 



PREFACE 



Y MAKE no apology for adding another "Life of 
Abraham Lincoln" to the many already written, 
as I believe it impossible to make such an example 
of successful perseverance allied to honesty, as the 
great President gave, too well known to the world. 
And as I know of no other man whose life shows 
so perfectly what may be effected by resolute self- 
culture, and adherence to good principles in spite of 
obstacles, I infer that such an example cannot be 
too extensively set before all young men who are 
ambitious to do well in the truest sense. There are 
also other reasons why it should be studied. The 
life of Abraham Lincoln during his Presidency is 
simply that of his country — since he was so intimately 
concerned with every public event of his time, that 
as sometimes happens with photographs, so with tho 
biography of Lincoln and the history of his time, we 



6 Preface, 

cannot decide whether the great picture was enlarged 
from the smaller one, or the smaller reduced from a 
greater. His career also fully proves that extremes 
meet, since in no despotism is there an example of 
any one who ever governed so great a country so 
thoroughly in detail as did this Republican of Repub- 
licans, whose one thought was simply to obey the 
people. 

It is of course impossible to give within the limits 
of a small book all the details of a busy life, and also 
the history of thfe American Emancipation and its 
causes ; but I trust that I have omitted little of much 
importance. The books to which I have been chiefly 
indebted, and from which I have borrowed most 
freely, are the lives of Lincoln by W. H. Lamon, and 
by my personal friends H. J. Raymond and Dr. 
Holland ; and also the works referring to the war by 
I. N. Arnold, F. B. Carpenter, L. P. Brockett, A. 
Boyd, G. W. Bacon, J. Barrett, Adam Badeau, and 

F. Moore. 

C.G. L. 

June, 1879. 



CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER I. ,„. 

Birth of Abraham Lincoln — The Lincoln Family — Abraham's first 
Schooling— Death of Mrs. Lincoln, and the new "Mother" — 
Lincoln's Boyhood and Youth — Self-Education— Great Physical 
Strength — First Literary Efforts — ^Journey to New Orleans— En- 
couraging Incident, . . . . . , • 9 

CHAPTER II. 

Lincoln's Appearance — His First Public Speech — Again at New 
Orleans — Mechanical Genius— Clerk in a Country Store— Elected 
Captain — The Black Hawk War— Is a successful Candidate for the 
Legislature — Becomes a Storekeeper, Land Surveyor, and Post- 
master- His First Love — The "Long Nine"— First Step towards 
Emancipation, . . . . . . . .30 

CHAPTER III. 

Lincoln settles at Springfield as a Lawyer— Candidate for the office of 
Presidential Elector — A Love Affair — Marries Miss Todd — Religious 
Views — Exerts himself for Henry Clay — Elected to Congress in 
1846 — Speeches in Congress— Out of Political Employment until 
1854— Anecdotes of Lincoln as a Lawyer, . . . .53 

CHAPTERIV. 

Rise of the Southern Party — Formation of the Abolition and the Free 
Soil Parties — Judge Douglas and the Kansas-Nebraska Bill — 
Douglas defeated by Lincoln — Lincoln resigns as Candidate for 
Congress — Lincoln's Letter on Slaverj^The Bloomington Speech — 
The Fremont Campaign— Election of Buchanan— The Dred-Scott 
Decision, . . . . . . . .64 

CHAPTER V. 

Causes of Lincoln's Nomination to the Presidency— His Lectures in 
New York, &c. — The First Nomination and the Fence Rails — The 
Nomination at Chicago — Elected President — Office-seekers and 
Appointments — Lincoln's Impartiality — The South determined to 
Secede— Fears for Lincoln's Life, . . . . .78 

CHAPTER VI. 

A Suspected Conspiracy — Lincoln's Departure for Washington — His 
Speeches at Springfield and on the road to the National Capital — 
Breaking out of the Rebellion — Treachery of President Buchanan — 
Treason in the Cabinet — Jefferson Davis's Message — Threats of 
Massacre and Ruin to the North — Southern Sympathisers — Lincoln's 
Inaugural Address — The Cabinet — The Days of Doubt and of 
Darkness, . . . . . . . .88 



Contents, 



CHAPTER VII. PXGB 

Mr. Seward refuses to meet the Rebel Commissioners — Lincoln's 
Forbearance — Fort Sumter — Call for 75,000 Troops — Troubles in 
Maryland — Administrative Prudence — ^Judge Douglas — Increase of 
the Army — Winthrop and Ellsworth— Bull Run— General M 'Clellan, 102 

CHAPTER VI 11.^ 

Relations with Europe — Foreign Views of the War — The Slaves — 
Proclamation of Emancipa^^il^Arrest of Rebel Commissioners — 
Black Troops, . . . . . . • • 117 

CHAPTER IX. 

Eighteen Hundred and Sixty-two— The Plan of the War, and 
Strength of the Armies — General M 'Clellan — The General Movement, 
January 27th, 1862 — The brilliant Western Campaign — Removal of 
M 'Clellan — The Monitor — Battle of Fredericksburg — Vallandigham 
and Seymour — The Alabama — President Lincoln declines all Foreign 
Mediation, ........ 134 

CHAPTER X. 

Eighteen Hundred and Sixty-three — A Popular Prophecy — General 
Burnside relieved and General Hooker appointed — Battle of Chancel- 
lorsviUe — The Rebels invade Pennsylvania — Battle of Gettysburg — 
Lincoln's Speech at Gettysburg — Grant takes Vicksburg — Port 
Hudson— Battle of Chattanooga— New York Riots — The French in 
Mexico — Troubles in Missouri, ..... 147 

CHAPTER XI. 

Proclamation of Amnesty— Lincoln's Benevolence — His Self-reliance — 
Progress of the Campaign — The Summer of 1864 — Lincoln's Speech 
at Philadelphia— Suffering in the South — Raids — Sherman's March 
— Grant's Position— Battle of the Wilderness — Siege of Petersburg — 
Chambersburg— Naval Victories — Confederate Intrigues — Presiden- 
tial Election — Lincoln Re-elected — Atrocious Attempts of the Con- 
federates, ........ 17a 

CHAPTER XII. 

The President's Reception of Negroes — The South opens Negotiations 
for Peace — Proposals— Lincoln's Second Inauguration — The Last 
Battle — Davis Captured — End of the War — Death of Lincoln— Pubhc 
Mourning, ........ 203 

CHAPTER XIII. 

President Lincoln's Characteristics — His Love of Hiunour — His Stories 
— Pithy Sayings— Repartees— His Dignity, .... 233 

Index, ...•••••• 245 



Life of Abraham Lincoln. 



CHAPTER I. 

Birth of Abraham Lincoln— The Lincoln Family— Abraham's first School- 
ing—Death of Mrs. Lincoln, and the new "Mother" — Lincoln's 
Boyhood and Youth — Self-Education — Great Physical Strength — First 
Literary Efforts— Journey to New Orleans— Encouraging Incident. 

ABRAHAM LINCOLN was born in Kentucky, 
on the 1 2th day of February, 1809. The 
log-cabin which was his birth-place was built 
on the south branch of Nolin's Creek, three 
miles from the village of Hodgensville, on land 
which was then in the county of Hardin, but is 
now included in that of La Rue. His father, 
Thomas Lincoln, was born in 1778; his mother's 
maiden name was Nancy Hanks. The Lincoln 
family, which appears to have been of unmixed 
English descent, came to Kentucky from Berks 
County, Pennsylvania, to which place tradition or 
conjecture asserts they had emigrated from Massa- 
chusetts. But they did not remain long in Pennsyl- 
vania, since they seem to have gone before 1752 to 
Rockingham, County Virginia, which state was then 



lo Life of Abraham Lincoln. 

one with that of Kentucky. There is, however, so 
much doubt as to these details of their early history, 
that it is not certain whether they were at first 
emigrants directly from England to Virginia, an off- 
shoot of the historic Lincoln family in Massachusetts, 
or of the highly respectable Lincolns of Pennsyl- 
vania.i This obscurity is plainly due to the great 
poverty and lowly station of the Virginian Lincolns. 
"My parents," said President Lincoln, in a brief 
autobiographic sketch,^ " were both born of undis- 
tinguished families — second families, perhaps, I 
should say." To this he adds that his paternal 
grandfather was Abraham Lincoln, who migrated 
from Rockingham, County Virginia, to Kentucky, 
"about 178 1 or 2," although his cousins and other 
relatives all declare this grandsire's name to have 
been Mordecai — a striking proof of the ignorance and 
indifference of the family respecting matters seldom 
neglected. 

This grandfather, Abraham or Mordecai, having 
removed to Kentucky, " the dark and bloody ground," 
settled in Mercer County. Their house was a rough 
log-cabin, their farm a little clearing in the midst of 
the forest. One morning, not long after their settle- 
ment, the father took Thomas, his youngest son, and 
went to build a fence a short distance from the house, 

* Lamon, c. L p. I. * Addressed to J. W. Fell, March, 1872. 



Mordecai Lincobt, ii 

while the other brothers, Mordecai and Josiah, were 
sent to a field not far away. They were all intent 
upon their work, when a shot from a party of Indians 
in ambush was heard. The father fell dead. Josiah 
ran to a stockade, or settlement, two or three miles 
off; Mordecai, the eldest boy, made his way to the 
house, and, looking out from a loop-hole, saw an 
Indian in the act of raising his little brother from 
the ground. He took deliberate aim at a silver 
ornament on the breast of the Indian, and brought 
him down. Thomas sprang towards the cabin, and 
was admitted by his mother, while Mordecai renewed 
his fire at several other Indians who rose from the 
covert of the fence, or thicket. It was not long before 
Josiah returned from the stockade with a party 
of settlers ; but the Indians had fled, and none 
were found but the dead one, and another who 
was wounded, and had crept into the top of a 
fallen tree. Mordecai, it is said, hated the Indians 
ever after with an intensity which was unusual 
even in those times. As Allan Macaulay, in 
" Waverley," is said to have hunted down the 
Children of the Mist, or as the Quaker Nathan, 
in Bird's romance of " Nick of the Woods," is 
described as hunting the Shawnese, so we are told 
this other avenger of blood pursued his foes with 
unrelenting, "unscrupulous hatred. For days together 
he would follow peaceable Indians as they passed 



12 Life of Abraham Li7tcol7t. 

through the settlements, in order to get secret 
shots at them.^ 

Mordecai, the Indian-killer, and his brother, Josiah, 
remained in Virginia, and grew up to be respectable, 
prosperous men. The younger brother, Thomas, 
was always " idle, thriftless, poor, a hunter, and a 
rover." He exercised occasionally in a rough way 
the calling of a carpenter, and, wandering from place 
to place, began at different times to cultivate the 
wilderness, but with little success, owing to his 
laziness. Yet he was a man of great strength and 
vigour, and once " thrashed the monstrous bully 
of Breckinridge County in three minutes, and came 
off without a scratch." He was an inveterate talker, 
or popular teller of stories and anecdotes, and a 
Jackson Democrat in politics, which signified that 
he belonged to the more radical of the two political 
parties which then prevailed in America. In religion, 
he was, says Lamon, who derived his information 
from Mr. W. H. Herndon, " nothing at times, and a 
member of various denominations by turns." In 
1806, he lived at Elizabethtown, in Hardin County, 
Kentucky, where, in the same year and place, he 
married Nancy Hanks : the exact date of the 
marriage is unknown. It is said of this young 
woman that she was a tall and beautiful brunette, 

1 Lamon, p. 7. 



Lincoln s Mother, 13 

with an understanding which, by her family at least, 
was considered wonderful. She could read and 
write — as rare accomplishments in those days in 
Kentucky backwoods as they still are among the 
poor whites of the South or their Western descen- 
dants.^ In later life she was sadly worn by hard 
labour, both in the house and fields, and her features 
were marked with a melancholy which was probably 
constitutional, and which her son inherited. 

It is to be regretted that President Abraham 
Lincoln never spoke, except with great reluctance, 
of his early life, or of his parents. As it is, the 
researches of W. H. Herndon and others have 
indicated the hereditary sources of his chief charac- 
teristics. We know that the grandfather was a 
vigorous backwoodsman, who died a violent death ; 
that his uncle was a grim and determined man- 
slayer, carrying out for years the blood-feud pro- 
voked by the murder of his parent ; that his mother 
was habitually depressed, and that his father was a 
favourite of both men and women, though vi mere 
savage when irritated, fond of fun, an endless story- 
teller, physically powerful, and hating hard work. 
Out of all these preceding traits, it is not difficult 

^ In 1S65, I saw many companies and a few regiments "mustered 
out" in Nashville, Tennessee. In the most intelligent companies, only 
one man in eight or nine could sign his name. Fewer still could read, 
-C. G. L. 



14 Life of Abraham Lincoln, 

to imagine how the giant Abraham came to be in- 
flexible of purpose and strong of will, though indolent 
— why he was good-natured to excess in his excess 
of strength — and why he was a great humourist, 
and at the same time a melancholy man. 

It should be remembered by the reader that the 
state of society in which Abraham Lincoln was 
born and grew up resembled nothing now existing 
in Europe, and that it is very imperfectly under- 
stood even by many town-dwelling Americans. The 
people around him were all poor and ignorant, yet 
they bore their poverty lightly, were hardly aware 
of their want of culture, and were utterly uncon- 
scious of owing the least respect or deference to 
any human being. Some among them were, of 
course, aware of the advantages to be/ derived from 
wealth and political power ; but the majority knew 
hot how to spend the one, and were indifferent to 
the other. Even to this day, there are in the South 
and South-West scores of thousands of men who, 
owning vast tracts of fertile land, and gifted with 
brains and muscle, will not take the pains to build 
themselves homes better than ordinary cabins, or 
cultivate more soil than will supply life with plain 
and unvaried sustenance. The only advantage they 
have is the inestimable one, if properly treated, of 
being free from all trammels save those of ignorance. 
To rightly appreciate the good or evil qualities of men 



Early Privations, 15 

moulded in such society, requires great generosity, 
and great freedom from all that is conventional. 

Within the first few years of her married life, 
Nancy Hanks Lincoln bore her husband three 
children. The first was a daughter, named Sarah, 
who married at fifteen, and died soon after ; the 
second was Abraham ; and the third Thomas, who 
died in infancy.^ The famil}/ were always wretchedly 
poor, even below the level of their neighbours in 
want ; and as the father was indolent, the wife was 
obliged to labour and suffer. But it is probable 
that Mrs. Lincoln, who could read, and Thomas, 
who attributed his failure in life to ignorance, 
wished their children to be educated. Schools were, 
of course, scarce in a country where the houses 
are often many miles apart. Zachariah Riney, a 
Catholic priest, was Abraham's first teacher ; his 
next was Caleb Hazel. The young pupil learned 
to read and write in a few weeks ; but in all his 
life, reckoning his instruction by days, he had only 
one year's schooling. 

When Thomas Lincoln was first married (1806), 
he took his wife to live in Elizabethtown, in a 
wretched shed, which has since been used as a 
slaughter-house and stable. About a year after, he 
removed to Nolin's Creek. Four years after the 

1 J. G. Holland, p. 22. 



1 6 Life of Abraham Lincoln, 

birth of Abraham (1809), he again migrated to a 
more picturesque and fertile place, a few miles distant 
on Knob Creek. Here he remained four years, and 
though he was the occupant of over 200 acres of 
good land, never cultivated more than a little patch, 
" being satisfied with milk and meal for food." 
When his children went to school they walked eight 
miles, going and returning, having only maize 
bread for dinner. In 1 8 16, the father, after having 
sold his interest in the farm for ten barrels of 
whiskey and twenty dollars, built himself a crazy 
fiat-boat, and set sail alone on the Ohio, seeking 
for a new home. By accident, the boat foundered, 
and much of the cargo was lost ; but Thomas 
Lincoln pushed on, and found a fitting place to 
settle in Indiana, near the spot on which the village 
of Gentryville now stands. It was in the untrodden 
wilderness, and here he soon after brought his family, 
to live for the first year in what is called a half-faced 
camp, or a rough hut of poles, of which only three 
sides were enclosed, the fourth being open to the 
air. In 18 17, Betsy Sparrow, an aunt of Mrs. 
Lincoln, and her husband, Thomas, with a nephew 
named Dennis Hanks, joined the Lincolns, who 
removed to a better house, if that could be called 
a house which was built of rough logs, and had 
neither floor, door, nor window. For two years they 
continued to live in this manner. Lincoln, a car- 



Log'Cabin Life. 17 

penter, was too lazy to make himself the simplest 
furniture. They had a few three-legged stools ; the 
only bed was made in a singular manner. Its head 
and one side were formed by a corner of the cabin, 
the bed-post was a single crotch cut from the 
forest. Laid upon this crotch were the ends of two 
hickory poles, whose other extremities were placed 
in two holes made in the logs of the wall. On 
these sticks rested "slats," or boards rudely split 
from trees with an axe, and on these slats was laid 
a bag filled with dried leaves. This was the bed of 
Thomas and Nancy Lincoln, and into it — when the 
skins hung at the cabin entrance did not keep out 
the cold — little Abraham and his sister crept for 
warmth.^ Very little is recorded of the childhood 
of the future President. He was once nearly drowned 
in a stream, and when eight years of age shot a 
wild turkey, which, he declared in after life, was the 
largest game he had ever killed — a remarkable 
statement for a man who had grown up in a deer 
country, where buck-skin formed the common 
material for clothing, and venison hams passed for 

1 J. G. Holland, ** Life of Lincoln," p. 28. The children probably 
slept on the earth. The writer has seen a man, owning hundreds of 
acres of rich bottom land, living in a log-hut, nearly such as is 
here described. There was only a single stool, an iron pot, a knife, 
and a gun in the cabin, but no bedstead, the occupant and his wife 
sleeping in two cavities in the dirt-floor. Such had been their home 
for years. 
B 



1 8 Life of Abraham Lincoln, 

money. One thing is at least certain — that, till he 
was ten years old, the poor boy was ill-clad, dirty, 
and ill-used by his father. He had, however, learned 
to write. 

In 1818, a terrible but common epidemic, known 
in Western America as the milk-fever, broke out in 
Indiana, and within a few days Thomas and Betsy 
Sparrow and Mrs. Lincoln all died. They had no 
medical attendance, and it was nine months before 
a clergyman, named David Elkin, invited by the 
first letter which Abraham ever wrote, came one 
hundred miles to hold the funeral service and preach 
over the graves. Strange as it may seem, the 
event which is universally regarded as the saddest 
of every life, in the case of Abraham Lincoln led 
directly to greater happiness, and to a change which 
conduced to the development of all his better 
qualities. Thirteen months after the death of Nancy 
Lincoln, Thomas married a widow, Mrs. Johnston, 
whom he had wooed ineffectually in Kentucky when 
she was Miss Sally Bush. She was a woman of 
sense, industrious, frugal, and gifted with a pride 
which inspired her to lead a far more civilised life 
than that which satisfied poor Tom Lincoln. He 
had greatly exaggerated to her the advantages of 
his home in Indiana, and she was bitterly dis- 
appointed when they reached it. Fortunately, she 
owned a stock of good furniture, which greatly 



A Better Home. 19 

astonished little Abraham and Sarah and their 
cousin Dennis. " She set about mending matters with 
great energy, and made her husband put down a 
floor, and hang windows and doors." It was in the 
depth of winter, and the children, as they nestled 
in the warm beds she had provided, enjoying the 
strange luxury of security from the cold winds of 
December, must have thanked her from the depths 
of their hearts. She had brought a son and two 
daughters of her own, but Abraham and his sister 
had an equal place in her affections. They were 
half naked, and she clad them ; they were dirty, 
and she washed them ; they had been ill-used, and 
she treated them with motherly tenderness. In her 
own language, she "made them look a httle more 
human."^ 

This excellent woman loved Abraham tenderly, 
and her love was warmly returned. After his death 
she declared to Mr. Herndon — "I can say what not 
one mother in ten thousand can of a boy — Abe 
never gave me a cross look, and never refused, in fact 
or appearance, to do anything I requested him ; nor 

^ Lamon, vol. i., pp. 31 and 40. Abraham's father is said by 
Dennis Hanks (from whom Mr. Herndon, Lamon's authority, deiived 
much information) to have loved his son, but it is certain that, at the 
same time, he treated him very cruelly. Hanks admits that he had 
several times seen little Abraham knocked headlong from the fence 
by his father, while civilly answering questions put by travellers as to 
their way. 



20 Life of Abraham Lincoln. 

did I ever give him a cross word in all my life. 
His mind and mine — what little I had — seemed to 
run together. He was dutiful to me always. Abe 
was the best boy I ever saw, or ever expect to see." 
" When in after years Mr. Lincoln spoke of his 
'saintly mother,' and of his * angel of a mother/ 
he referred to this noble woman, who first made him 
feel * like a human being' — whose goodness first 
touched his childish heart, and taught him that 
blows and taunts and degradation were not to be 
his only portion in the world." And if it be recorded 
of George Washington that he never told a lie, it 
should also be remembered of Abraham Lincoln, 
who carried his country safely through a greater 
crisis than that of the Revolutionary War,^ that he 
always obeyed his mother. 

Abraham had gone to school only a few weeks 
in Kentucky, and Mrs. Lincoln soon sent him again 
to receive instruction. His first teacher in Indiana 
was Hazel Dorsey ; his next, Andrew Crawford. 
The latter, in addition to the ordinary branches of 
education, also taught " manners." One scholar 
would be introduced by another, while walking round 



* W, H. Herndon, who was for many years the law-partner of 
Abraham Lincoln, in a letter to me, written not long after the murder 
of his old friend, earnestly asserted his opinion that the late Pi-esident 
was a greater man than General Washington, founding his opinion 
on the greater difficulties which he subdued. — C. G. L, 



Lincoln's Youth. 2g 

the log schoolroom, to all the boys and girls, taught 
to bow properly, and otherwise acquire the ordinary 
courtesies of life. Abraham distinguished himself 
in spelling, which has always been a favourite subject 
for com.petition in rural America, and he soon began 
to write short original articles, though composition 
formed no part of the studies. It was characteristic 
of the boy that his first essays were against cruelty 
to animals. His mates were in the habit of catching 
the box-turtles, or land-terrapins, or tortoises, and 
putting live coals on their backs to make them 
walk, which greatly annoyed Abraham. All who 
knew him, in boyhood or in later life, bear witness 
that this tenderness was equal to his calm courage 
and tremendous physical strength. The last school 
which he attended for a short time, and to reach 
which he walked every day nine miles, was kept by 
a Mr. Swaney. This was in 1826. 

Abraham was now sixteen years of age, and had 
grown so rapidly that he had almost attained the 
height which he afterwards reached of six feet four 
inches. He was very dark, his skin was shrivelled 
even in boyhood by constant exposure, and he 
habitually wore low shoes, a linsey-woolsey shirt, 
a cap made from the skin of a raccoon or opossum, 
and buckskin breeches, which were invariably about 
twelve inches too short for him. When not working 
for his father, he was hired out as a farm-labourer 



22 Life of Abraham Lincoln, 

to the neighbours. His cousin, John Hanks, says — • 
" We worked barefoot, grubbed it, ploughed, mowed, 
and cradled together." 

All who knew him at this time testify that 
Abraham hated hard -work, though he did it well — 
that he was physically indolent, though intellectually 
very active — that he loved to laugh, tell stories, and 
joke while labouring — and that he passed his leisure 
moments in hard study or in reading, which he made 
hard by writing out summaries of all he read, and 
getting them by heart. He would study arithmetic 
at night by the light of the fire, and cipher or copy 
with a pencil or coal on the wooden shovel or on 
a board. When this was full, he would shave it 
off with his father's drawing-knife, and begin again. 
When he had paper, he used it instead ; but in the 
frequent intervals when he had none, the boards 
were kept until paper was obtained. Among the 
first books which he read and thoroughly mastered 
were "^sop's Fables," ''Robinson Crusoe," Bunyan's 
"Pilgrim's Progress," a "History of the United States," 
Weem's "Life of Washington," and "The Revised 
Statutes of Indiana." From another work, "The 
Kentucky Preceptor," a collection of literary extracts, 
he is said by a Mrs. Crawford, who knew him well, 
to have "learned his school' orations, speeches, and 
pieces to write." The field-work, which Abraham 
Lincoln disliked, did not, however, exhaust his body, 



Memory and Industry, 23 

and his mind found relief after toil in mastering 
anything in print.^ It is not unusual to see poor 
and ignorant youths who are determined to "get 
learning," apply themselves to the hardest and dryest 
intellectual labour with very little discrimination 
of any difference between that and more attractive 
literature, and it is evident that young Lincoln 
worked in this spirit. There is no proof that his 
memory was by nature extraordinary — it would 
rather seem that the contrary was the case, from 
the pains which he took to improve it. During his 
boyhood, any book had to him all the charm of 
rarity ; perhaps it was the more charming because 
most of his friends believed that mental culture was 
incompatible with industry. " Lincoln," said his 
cousin, Dennis Hanks, " was lazy — a very lazy man. 
He was always reading, scribbling, writing, ciphering, 
writing poetry, and the like." It is evident that 
his custom of continually exercising his memory on 
all subjects grew with his growth and strengthened 
with his strength. By the time he was twenty-five, 
he had, without instruction, made himself a good 
lawyer — not a mere " case-practitioner," but one who 
argued from a sound knowledge of principles. It 
is said that when he began to read Blackstone, he 
thoroughly learned the first forty pages at one 

^ "Abraham's poverty of books was the wealth of his life."— 
J. G. Holland. 



24 Life of Abraha7n Lincoln, 

sitting. There is also sufficient proof that he had 
perfectly mastered not only "Euclid's Geometry," but 
a number of elementary scientific works, among 
others one on astronomy. And many anecdotes 
of his later life prove that he learned nothing without 
thinking it over deeply, especially in all its relations 
to his other acquisitions and its practical use. If 
education consists of mental discipline and the 
acquisition of knowledge, it is idle to say that 
Abraham Lincoln was uneducated, since few college 
graduates actually excelled him in either respect. 
These facts deserve dwelling on, since, in the golden 
book of self-made men, there is not one who presents 
a more encouraging example to youth, and especially 
to the poor and ambitious, than Abraham Lincoln. 
He developed his memory by resolutely training 
it — he brought out his reasoning powers as a lawyer 
by using his memory — he became a fluent speaker 
and a ready reasoner by availing himself of every 
opportunity to speak or debate. From the facts 
which have been gathered by his biographers, or 
which are current in conversation among those 
who knew him, it is most evident that there 
seldom lived a man who owed so little to innate 
genius or talents, in comparison to what he 
achieved by sheer determination and perseverance. 

When Abraham was fifteen or sixteen, he began 
to exercise his memory in a new direction, by 



Kindness of Heart. 25 

frequenting not only religious but political meetings, 
and by mounting the stump of a tree the day after 
and repeating with great accuracy all he had heard. 
It is said that he mimicked with great skill not 
only the tones of preachers and orators, but also 
their gestures and facial expressions. Anything 
like cruelty to man or beast would always inspire 
him to an original address, in which he would preach 
vigorously against inflicting pain. Wherever he 
spoke an audience was sure to assemble, and as this 
frequently happened in the harvest-field, the youthful 
orator or actor was often dragged down by his angry 
father and driven to his work. His wit and humour, 
his inexhaustible fund of stories, and, above all, 
his kind heart, made him everywhere a favourite. 
Women, says Mr. Lamon, were especially pleased, 
for he was always ready to do any kind of work for 
them, such as chopping wood, making a fire, or 
nursing a baby. Any family was glad when he was 
hired to work with them, since he did his work 
well, and made them all merry while he was about 
it. In 1825, he was employed by James Taylor as 
a ferry-man, to manage a boat which crossed the 
Ohio and Anderson's Creek. In addition to this 
he worked on the farm, acted as hostler, ground 
corn, built the fires, put the water early on the 
fire, and prepared for the mistress's cooking. Though 
he was obliged to rise so early, he always studied till 



26 Life of Abraham Lincoln, 

nearly midnight. He was in great demand when 
hogs were slaughtered. For this rough work he 
was paid 31 cents (about l6d.) a-day. Meanwhile, 
he became incredibly strong. He could carry six 
hundred pounds with ease ; he once picked up some 
huge posts which four men were about to lift, and 
bore them away with little effort. Men yet alive 
have seen him lift a full barrel of liquor and drink 
from the bung-hole. " He could sink an axe," said 
an old friend, "deeper into wood than any man I 
ever saw." He was especially skilled in wrestling, 
and from the year 1828 there was no man, far or 
near, who would compete with him in it.^ From 
his boyhood, he was extremely temperate. Those 
who have spoken most freely of his faults admit 
that, in a country where a whiskey-jug was kept 
in every house, Lincoln never touched spirits except 
to avoid giving offence. His stepmother thought 
he was temperate to a fault. 

Meanwhile, as the youth grew apace, the neigh- 
bouring village of Gentryville had grown with him. 
Books and cultivated society became more accessible. 
The great man of the place was a Mr. Jones, the 
storekeeper, whose shop supplied all kinds of goods 
required by farmers. Mr. Jones took a liking to 
young Lincoln, employed him sometimes, taught 

^ Lamon, p. 54. 



Li7tcobi as a Writer. 27 

him politics, giving him deep impressions in favour 
of Andrew Jackson, the representative of the Demo- 
cratic party, and finally awoke Abraham's ambition 
by admiring him, and predicting that he would some 
day be a great man. Another friend was John 
Baldwin, the village blacksmith, who was, even for 
a Western American wag, wonderfully clever at a 
jest, and possessed of an inexhaustible fund of stories. 
It was from John Baldwin that Lincoln derived a 
great number of the quaint anecdotes with which 
he was accustomed in after years to illustrate his 
arguments. His memory contained thousands of 
these drolleries ; so that, eventually, there was no 
topic of conversation which did not "put him in 
mind of a little story." In some other respects, 
his acquisitions were less useful. Though he knew 
a vast number of ballads, he could not sing one ; and 
though a reader of Burns, certain of his own satires 
and songs, levelled at some neighbours who had 
slighted him, were mere doggerel, wanting every 
merit, and very bitter. But, about 1827, he con- 
tributed an article on temperance and another on 
American politics to two newspapers, published 
in Ohio. From the praise awarded by a lawyer, 
named Pritchard, to the political article, it would 
appear to have been very well written. Even in 
this first essay in politics, Lincoln urged the principle 
by which he became famous, and for which he died-— 



28 Life of Abraham Lincoln. 

adherence to the constitution and the integrity of 
the American Union. 

In March, 1828, Abraham Lincohi was hired by- 
Mr. Gentry, the proprietor of Gentryville, as "bow- 
hand," and "to work the front oars," on a boat 
going with a cargo of bacon to New Orleans. This 
was a trip of 1800 miles, and then, as now, the life 
of an Ohio and Mississippi boatman was full of wild 
adventure. One incident which befel the future 
President was sufficiently strange. Having arrived 
at a sugar-plantation six miles below Baton Rouge, 
the boat was pulled in, and Lincoln, with his com- 
panion, a son of Mr. Gentry, went to sleep. Hearing 
footsteps in the night, they sprang up, and saw 
that a gang of seven negroes were coming on board 
to rob or murder. Seizing a hand-spike, Lincoln 
rushed towards them, and as the leader jumped on 
the boat, knocked him into the water. The second, 
third, and fourth, as they leaped aboard, were served 
in the same way, and the others fled, but were pursued 
by Lincoln and Gentry, who inflicted on them a 
severe beating. In this encounter, Abraham received 
a wound the scar of which he bore through life. 
It is very probable that among these negroes who 
would have taken the life of the future champion 
of emancipation, there were some who lived to share 
its benefits and weep for his death.^ 

* Holland and Lamon. 



A Hopeful l7icident, 29 

It was during this voyage, or about this time, 
that two strangers paid Abraham half a silver doUar 
each for rowing them ashore in a boat. Relating 
this to Mr. Seward, Secretary of State, he said — • 
"You may think it was a very little thing, but it 
was a most important incident in my life. I could 
scarcely believe that I, a poor boy, had earned a 
dollar in less than a day. I was a more h'bpeful and 
confident being from that time." 



CHAPTER II. 

Lincoln's Appearance — His First Public Speech — Again at New Orleans — 
Mechanical Genius — Clerk in a Country Store — Elected Captain — The 
Black Hawk War — Is a successful Candidate for the Legislature — 
Becomes a Storekeeper, Land-Surveyor, and Postmaster — His First Love 
— The "Long Nine" — First Step towards Emancipation. 

IN 1830, Thomas Lincoln had again tired of his 
home, and resolved to move Westward. This 
time he did not change without good reason : an 
epidemic had appeared in his Indiana neighbourhood, 
which was besides generally unhealthy. Therefore, 
in the spring, he and Abraham, with Dennis Hanks 
and Levi Hall, who had married one of Mrs. Lincoln's 
daughters by her first husband, with their families, 
thirteen in all, having packed their furniture on a 
waggon, drawn by four oxen, took the road for 
Illinois. After journeying 200 miles in fifteen days, 
Thomas Lincoln settled in Moron County, on the 
Sangamon River, about ten miles west of Decatur. 
Here they built a cabin of hewn timber, with a 
smoke-house for drying meat, and a stable, and 
broke up and fenced fifteen acres of land. 

Abraham Lincoln was now twenty-one, and his 
father had been a hard master, taking all his wages. 
He therefore, after doing his best to settle the 



Lincoln's First Speech, 31 

family in their new home, went forth to work for 
himself among the farmers. One George Cluse, who 
worked with Abraham during the first year in 
Illinois, says that at that time he was " the roughest- 
looking person he ever saw : he was tall, angular, 
and ungainly, and wore trousers of flax and tow, 
cut tight at the ankle and out at the knees. He 
was very poor, and made a bargain with Mrs. Nancy 
Miller to split 400 rails for every yard of brown 
jean, dyed with walnut bark, that would be required 
to make him a pair of trousers." 

Thomas Lincoln found, in less than a year, that 
his new home was the most unhealthy of all he 
had tried. So he went Westward again, moving to 
three new places until he settled at Goose Nest 
Prairie, in Coles County, where he died at the age 
of seventy-three, " as usual, in debt." From the time 
of his death, and as he advanced in prosperity, 
Abraham aided his stepmother in many ways besides 
sending her money. It was at Decatur that he made 
his first public speech, standing on a keg. It was 
on the navigation of the Sangamon River, and was 
delivered extemporaneously in reply to one by a 
candidatj for the Legislature, named Posey, 

During the winter of 183 1, a trader, named Denton 
Offutt, proposed to John Hanks, Abraham Lincoln, 
and John D. Johnston, his stepmother's son, to take 
a flat-boat to New Orleans The wages offered were 



32 Life of Abraham Lincoln. 

very high — fifty cents a day to each man, and sixty 
dollars to be divided among them at the end of the 
trip. After some delay, the boat, loaded with corn, 
pigs, and pork, sailed, but just below New Salem, 
on the Sangamon, it stuck on a dam, but was saved 
by the great ingenuity of Lincoln, who invented 
a novel apparatus for getting it over. This seems 
to have turned his mind to the subject of overcoming 
such difficulties of navigation, and in 1849 he 
obtained a patent for " an improved method of lifting 
vessels over shoals." The design is a bellows attached 
to each side of the hull, below the water-line, to 
be pumped full of air when it is desired to lift the 
craft over a shoal. The model, which is eighteen 
or twenty inches long, and which is now in the 
Patent Office at Washington, appears to have been 
cut with a knife from a shingle and a cigar-box.^ 
John Hanks, apparently a most trustworthy and 
excellent man, declared that it was during this trip, 
while at New Orleans, Lincoln first saw negroes 
chained, maltreated, and whipped. It made a deep 
impression on his humane mind, and, years after, 
he often declared that witnessing this cruelty first 
induced him to think slavery wrong. At New 
Orleans the flat-boat discharged its cargo, and was 
sold for its timber. Lincoln returned on a steamboat 

* Vide Ripley and Dana's "Cyclopaedia;" also, article from the 
Boston *• Commercial Advertiser," cited by Lamon.. 



His First Official Act. 33 

to St. Louis, and thence walked home. He had 
hardly returned, before he received a challenge from 
a famous wrestler, named Daniel Needham. There 
was a great assembly at Wabash Point, to witness 
the match, where Needham was thrown with so 
much ease that his pride was mora hurt than his 
body. 

In July, 183 1, Abraham again engaged himself 
to Mr. Offutt, to take charge of a country store at 
New Salem. While awaiting his employer, an 
election was held, and a clerk was wanted at the 
polls. The stranger, Abraham, being asked whether 
he was competent to fill the post, said, "I -will try," 
and performed the duties well. This was the first 
public official act of his life ; and as soon as Offutt's 
goods arrived, Lincoln, from a day-labourer, became 
a clerk, or rather salesman, in which capacity he 
remained for one year, or until the spring of 1832, 
when his employer failed. Many incidents are 
narrated of Lincoln's honesty towards customers 
during this clerkship — of his strict integrity in trifles 
— his bravery when women were annoyed by bullies — 
and of his prowess against a gang of ruffians who 
infested and ruled the town. He is said to have 
more than once walked several miles after business 
hours to return six cents, or some equally trifling 
sum, when he had been overpaid. It is very evident 
that he managed all matters with so much tact as 



34 Life of Abraham Lmcoln. 

to make fast friends of everybody, and was specially 
a favourite of the men with whom he fought. It 
was now that he began to cultivate popularity, quietly, 
but with the same determination which he had shown 
in acquiring knowledge. To his credit be it said, 
that he effected this neither by flattery nor servility, 
but by making the most of his good qualities, and 
by inducing respect for his honesty, intelligence, 
and bravery. It is certain that, during a year, 
Mr. Offutt was continually stimulating his ambition, 
and insisting that he knew more than any man in 
the United States, and would some day be President. 
Lincoln himself knew very well by this time of what 
stuff many of the men were made who rose in 
politics, and that, with a little luck and perseverance, 
he could hold his own with them. When out of 
the "store," he was always busy, as of old, in the 
pursuit of knowledge. He mastered the English 
grammar, remarking that, "if that was what they 
called a science, he thought he could subdue another." 
A Mr. Green, who became his fellow-clerk, declares 
that his talk now showed that he was beginning to 
think of " a great life and a great destiny." He 
busied himself very much with debating clubs, 
walking many miles to attend them, and for years 
continued to take the " Louisville Journal," famous 
for the lively wit of its editor, George D. Prentice, 
and for this newspaper he paid regularly when he 



His Resolute Perseverance, 35 

had not the means to buy decent clothing. From 
this time his Hfe rapidly increases in interest. It 
is certain that, from early youth, he had quietly 
determined to become great, and that he thoroughly 
tested his own talents and acquirements before 
entering upon politics as a career. His chief and 
indeed his almost only talent was resolute persever- 
ance, and by means of it he passed in the race of life 
thousands who were his superiors in genius. Among 
all the biographies of the great and wise and good 
among mankind, there is not one so full of encourage- 
ment to poor young men as that of Abraham Lincoln, 
since there is not one which so illustrates not only 
how mere personal success may be attained, but 
how, by strong will and self-culture, the tremendous 
task of guiding a vast country through the trials 
of a civil war may be successfully achieved. 

In the spring of 1832, Mr. Offutt failed, and 
Lincoln had nothing to do. For some time past, 
an Indian rebellion, led by the famous Black Hawk, 
Chief of the Sac tribe, had caused the greatest alarm 
in the Western States. About the beginning of this 
century (1804-5), the Sacs had been removed west 
of the Mississippi ; but Black Hawk, believing that 
his people had been unjustly exiled, organised a 
conspiracy which for a while embraced nine of 
the most powerful tribes of the North-West, and 
announced his intention of returning: and settlinpf in 



36 Life of Abraham Lincoln, 

the old hunting-grounds of his people on the Rock 
River. He was a man of great courage and shrewd- 
ness, skilled as an orator, and dreaded as one gifted 
with supernatural power, combining in his person 
the war-chief and prophet. But the returning 
Indians, by committing great barbarities on the way, 
caused such irritation and alarm among the white 
settlers, that when Governor Reynolds^ of Illinois, 
issued a call for volunteers, several regiments of 
hardy frontiersmen were at once formed. Black 
Hawk's allies, with the exception of the tribe of 
the Foxes, at once fell away, but their desperate 
leader kept on in his course. Among the companies 
which volunteered was one from Menard County, 
embracing many men from New Salem. The captain 
was chosen by vote, and the choice fell on Lincoln. 
He was accustomed to say, when President, that 
nothing in his life had ever gratified him so much 
as this promotion ; and this may well have been, 
since, to a very ambitious man, the first practical 
proofs of popularity are like the first instalment of a 
great fortune paid to one who is poor. 

Though he was never in an actual engagement 
during this campaign, Lincoln underwent much 
hunger and hardship while it lasted, and at times 
had great trouble with his men, who were not only 
mere raw militia, but also unusually rough and 
rebellious. One incident of the war, however, 



The Old Indian. 37 

as narrated by Lamon, not only indicates that 
Abraham Lincoln was sometimes in danger, but 
was well qualified to grapple with it. 

" One day, during these many marches and 
countermarches, an old Indian, weary, hungry, and 
helpless, found his way into the camp. He professed 
to be a friend of the whites ; and, although it was 
an exceedingly perilous experiment for one of his 
colour, he ventured to throw himself upon the mercy 
of the soldiers. But the men first murmured, and then 
broke out into fierce cries for his blood. " We have 
come out to fight Indians," they said, " and we intend 
to do it." The poor Indian, now in the extremity 
of his distress and peril, did what he should have 
done before — he threw down before his assailants a 
soiled and crumpled paper, which he implored them 
to read before taking his life. It was a letter of 
character and safe conduct from General Cass, pro- 
nouncing him a faithful man, who had done good 
service in the cause for which this army was enlisted. 
But it was too late ; the men refused to read it, 
or thought it a forgery, and were rushing with fury 
upon the defenceless old savage, when Captain 
Lincoln bounded between them and their appointed 
victim. " Men," said he, and his voice for a moment 
stilled the agitation around him, "this must not be 
done — he must not be shot and killed by us." " But,*' 
said some of them, "the Indian is a spy." Lincoln 



38 Life of Abraham Lincoln, 

knew that his own life was now in only less danger 
than that of the poor creature that crouched behind 
him. During this scene, the towering form and 
the passion and resolution in Lincoln's face produced 
an effect upon the furious mob. They paused, 
listened, fell back, and then sullenly obeyed what 
seemed to be the voice of reason as well as authority. 
But there were still some murmurs of disappointed 
rage, and half-suppressed exclamations which looked 
towards vengeance of some kind. At length one of 
the men, a little bolder than the rest, but evidently 
feeling that he spoke for the whole, cried out — 
"This is cowardly on your part, Lincoln!" "If 
any man think I am a coward, let him test it," 
was the reply. " Lincoln," responded a new voice, 
"you are larger and heavier than we are." " This you 
can guard against ; c'joose your weapons," returned 
the Captain. Whatever may be said of Mr. Lincoln's 
choice of means for the preservation of military 
discipline, it was certainly very effectual in this case. 
There was no more disaffection in his camp, and 
the word "coward" was never coupled with his 
name again. Mr. Lincoln understood his men better 
than those who would be disposed to criticise his 
conduct. He has often declared himself that "his 
life and character were both at stake, and would 
probably have been lost, had he not at that supremely 
critical moment forgotten the officer and asserted 



He Enlists again, 39 

the man." The soldiers, in fact, could not have been 
arrested, tried, or punished ; they were merely wild 
backwoodsmen, " acting entirely by their own will, 
and any effort to court-martial them would simply 
have failed in its object, and made their Captain 
seem afraid of them." 

During this campaign, Lincoln made the acquaint- 
ance of a lawyer — then captain — the Hon. T. Stuart, 
who had subsequently a great influence on his career. 
When the company was mustered out in May, 
Lincoln at once re-enlisted as a private in a volunteer 
spy company, where he remained for a month, until 
the Battle of Bad Axe, which resulted in the capture 
of Black Hawk, put an end to hostilities. This war 
was not a remarkable affair, says J. G. Holland, 
but it was remarkable that the two simplest, homeliest, 
and truest men engaged in it afterwards became 
Presidents of the United States — namely. General, 
then Colonel, Zachary Taylor and Abraham Lincoln. 

It has always been usual in the United States 
to urge to the utmost the slightest military services 
rendered by candidates for office. The absurd degree 
to which this was carried often awoke the satire of 
Lincoln, even when it was at his own expense. Many 
years after, he referred thus humorously to his 
military services^ : — 



' Raymond, "Life and Public Services of Abraham Lincoln, "p. 25. 



40 Life of Abraha7n Lincoln. 

" By the way, Mr. Speaker, did you know I was 
a military hero ? Yes, sir, in the days cf the Black 
Hawk war I fought, bled, and came away. Speaking 
of General Cass's career reminds me cf my own. 
I was not at Sullivan's defeat, but I was about as 
near to it as Cass was to Hull's surrender, and, 
like him, I saw the place soon after. It is quite 
certain that I did not break my sword, for I had 
none to break ;^ but I bent my musket pretty badly 
on one occasion. If Cass broke his sword, the 
idea is he broke it in desperation. I bent the musket 
by accident. If General Cass went in advance of 
me in picking whortleberries, I guess I surpassed 
him in charges upon the wild onions. If he saw 
any live fighting Indians, it was more than I did ; 
but I had a great many bloody struggles with 
the mosquitoes, and, although I never fainted from 
loss cf blood, I certainly can say I was often very 
hungry." 

The soldiers from Sangamon County arrived home 
just ten days before the State election, and Lincoln 
was immediately applied to for permission to place 



^ Mr. Lincoln "spoke forgetfully" on this occasion. Owing to 
the drunkenness and insubordination of his men, which he could not 
help, he was once obliged to carry a wooden svvord for two days. — 
Lamon, p. 104. On a previous occasion, he had been under arrest, 
and was deprived of his sword for one day, for firing a pistol within 
ten steps of camp. — Ibid., p. 103. 



His Political Integrity. 41 

his name among the candidates for the Legislature.^ 
He canvassed the district, but was defeated, though 
he received the almost unanimous vote of his own 
precinct. The young man had, however, made a 
great advance even by defeat, since he became known 
by it as one whose sterling honesty had deserved 
a better reward. Lincoln's integrity was, in this 
election, strikingly evinced by his adherence to his 
political principles ; had he been less scrupulous, 
he would not have lost the election. At this time 
there were two great political parties — the Demo- 
cratic, headed by Andrew Jackson, elected President 
in 1832, and that which had been the Federalist, but 
which was rapidly t)eing called Whig. The Demo- 
cratic party warred against a national bank, paper 
money, "monopolies" or privileged and chartered 
institutions, a protective tariff, and internal improve- 
ments, and was, in short, jealous of all public 
expenditure which could tend to greatly enrich 
individuals. Its leader, Jackson, was a man of 
inflexible determination and unquestionable bravery, 
which he had shown not only in battle, but by 
subduing the incipient rebellion in South Carolina, 
when that state had threatened to nullify or secede 
from the Union. Lincoln's heart was with Jackson ; 
he had unbounded admiration for the man, but he 

1 Holland, p. 53. 



42 Life of Abraham Lincoln, 

knew that the country needed internal improvements, 
and in matters of political economy inclined to the 
Whigs. 

After returning from the army, he went to live in 
the house of W. H. Herndon, a most estimable man, 
to whose researches the world owes nearly all that 
is known of Lincoln's early life and family, and 
who was subsequently his law-partner. At this time 
the late Captain thought of becoming a blacksmith, 
but as an opportunity occurred of buying a store in 
New Salem on credit, he became, in company with 
a man named Berry, a country merchant, or trader. 

He showed little wisdom in associating himself 
with Berry, who proved a drunkard, and ruined 
the business, after a year of anxiety, leaving Lincoln 
in debt, which he struggled to pay off through many 
years of trouble. It was not until 1849 that the 
last note was discharged. His creditors were, how- 
ever, considerate and kind. While living with Mr. 
Herndon, Lincoln began to study law seriously. He 
had previously read Blackstone, and by one who has 
really mastered this grand compendium of English 
law the profession is already half-acquired. He 
was still very poor, and appears to have lived by 
helping a Mr. Ellis in his shop, and to have received 
much willing aid from friends, especially John T. 
Stuart, who always cheerfully supplied his wants, 
and lent him law-books. 



Stirveyor and Post-Office Keeper, 43 

About this time, Lincoln attracted the attention 
of a noted Democrat, John Calhoun, the surveyor 
of Sangamon County, who afterwards became famous 
as President of the Lecompton Council in Kansas, 
during the disturbances between the friends and 
opponents of slavery prior to the admission of the 
state. He liked Lincoln, and, wanting a really honest 
assistant, recommended him to learn surveying, lend- 
ing him a book for the purpose. \\\ six weeks he 
had qualified himself, and soon acquired a small 
private business. 

On the 7th May, 1833, Lincoln was appointed 
postmaster at New Salem. As the mail arrived but 
once a-week, neither the duties nor emoluments of 
the office were such as to greatly disturb or delight 
him. He is said, indeed, to have kept the letters 
in his hat, being at once, in his own person, both 
office and officer. The advantages which he gained 
were opportunities to read the newspapers, which 
he did aloud to the assembled inhabitants, and to 
decipher letters for all who could not read. All of 
this was conducive, in a creditable way, to notoriety 
and popularity, and he improved it as such. In 
the autumn of 1834, a great trouble occurred. His 
scanty property, consisting of the horse, saddle, 
bridle, and surveyor's instruments by which he lived, 
were seized under a judgment on one of the notes 
which he had given for " the store." But two good 



44 Life of Abraham Lincoln, 

friends, named Short and Bowlin Greene, bought 
them in for 245 dollars, which Lincoln faithfully- 
repaid in due time. It is said that he was an 
accurate surveyor, and remarkable for his truthful- 
ness. He never speculated in lands, nor availed 
himself of endless opportunities to profit, by aiding 
the speculations of others. 

Miserably poor and badly clad, Lincoln, though 
very fond of the society of women, was sensitive and 
shy when they were strangers. Mr. Ellis, the store- 
keeper for whom he often worked, states that, when 
he lived with him at the tavern, there came a lady 
from Virginia with three stylish daughters, who 
remained a few weeks. "During their stay, I do 
not remember Mr. Lincoln ever eating at the same 
table where they did. I thought it was on account 
of his awkward appearance and wearing apparel." 
There are many anecdotes recorded of this kind, 
showing at this period his poverty, his popularity, 
and his kindness of heart. He was referee, umpire, 
and unquestioned judge in all disputes, horse-races, 
or wagers. One who knew him in this capacity said 
of him — " He is the fairest man I ever had to deal 
with." 

In 1834, Lincoln again became a successful can- 
didate for the Legislature of Illinois, receiving a 
larger majority than any other candidate on the 
ticket. A friend, Colonel Smoot, lent him 200 



Love and Politics. 45 

dollars to make a decent appearance, and he went 
to the seat of government properly^ dressed, for, 
perhaps, the first time in his life. During the 
session, he said very little, but worked hard and 
learned much. He was on the Committee for 
Public Accounts and Expenditures, and when the 
session was at an end, quietly walked back to his 
work. 

Lamon relates, at full length, that at this time 
Lincoln was in love with a young lady, who died 
of a broken heart in 1835, not, however, for Lincoln, 
but for another young man who had been engaged 
to, and abandoned her. At her death, Lincoln 
seemed for some weeks nearly insane, and was 
never the same man again. From this time he lost 
his youth, and became subject to frequent attacks 
of intense mental depression, resulting in that settled 
melancholy which never left him. 

In 1836, he was again elected to the Legislature. 
Political excitement at this time ran high. The 
country was being settled rapidly, and people's minds 
were wild with speculation in lands and public works, 
from which every man hoped for wealth, and which 
were to be developed by the legislators. Lincoln's 
colleagues were in an unusual degree able men, and 
the session was a busy one. It was during the 
canvass of 1836 that he made his first really great 
speech. He had by this time fairly joined the new 



46 Life of Abraham Lincoln. 

Whig party, and it was in reply to a Democrat, Dr. 
Early, that he spoke. From that day he was recog- 
nised as one of the most powerful orators in the state. 
The principal object of this session, in accordance 
with the popular mania, was internal improvements, 
and to this subject Lincoln had been devoted for 
years. The representatives from Sangamon County 
consisted of nine men of great influence, every one 
at least six feet in height, whence they were known 
as the Long Nine. The friends of the adoption 
of a general system of internal improvements wished 
to secure the aid of the Long Nine, but the latter 
refused to aid them unless the removal of the capital 
of the state from Vandalia to Springfield should 
be made a part of the measure. The result was 
that both the Bill for removal and that for internal 
improvements, involving the indebtedness of the 
state for many millions of dollars, passed the same 
day. Lincoln was the leader in these improvements, 
and "was a most laborious member, instant in season 
and out of season for the great measures of the Whig 
party."^ At the present day, though grave doubts 

1 Holland passes over the wisdom or unwisdom of these measures 
without comment. According to Ford ("Plistory of Illinois") and 
Lamon, the whole state was by them "simply bought up and bribed 
to support the most senseless and disastrous policy which ever crippled 
the energies of a growing country." It is certain that, in any country 
where the internal resources are enormous and the inhabitants intelli- 
gent, enterprising, and poor, such legislation will always find favour. 



Reckless Legislation. 47 

may exist as to the expediency of such reckless 
and radical legislation, there can be none as to the 
integrity or good faith of Abraham Lincoln. He 
did not enrich himself by it, though it is not impos- 
sible that, in legislation as in land-surveying, others 
swindled on his honesty. 

It was during this session that Lincoln first beheld 
Stephen Douglas, who was destined to become, for 
twenty years, his most formidable opponent. Douglas, 
from his diminutive stature and great mind, was 
afterwards popularly known as the Little Giant. 
Lincoln merely recorded his first impressions of 
Douglas by saying he was the least man he ever saw. 
This legislation of 1836-37 was indeed of a nature 
to attract speculators, whether in finance or politics. 
Within a few days, it passed two loans amounting 
to 12,000,000 dollars, and chartered 1,300 miles of 
railway, with canals, bridges, and river improvements 
in full proportion. The capital stock of two banks 
was increased by nearly 5,000,000 dollars, which the 
State took, leaving it to the banks to manage the 
railroad and canal funds. Everything was under- 
taken on a colossal and daring scale by the legislators, 
who were principally managed by the Long Nine, 
who were in their turn chiefly directed by Lincoln. 
The previous session had been to him only as the 
green-room in which to prepare himself for the 
stage. When he made this his first appearance in 



48 Life of A-draham Lincohi, 

the political ballet, it was certainly with such a leap 
as had never before been witnessed in any beginner. 
The internal improvement scheme involved not only 
great boldness and promptness in its execution, but 
also a vast amount of that practical business talent in 
which most "Western men" and Yankees are instinc- 
tively proficient. With all this, there was incessant 
hard work and great excitement Through the 
turmoil, Lincoln passed like one in his true element. 
He had at last got into the life to which he had aspired 
for years, and was probably as happy as his constitu- 
tional infirmity of melancholy would permit. He 
was, it is true, no man of business in the ordinary 
sense, but he understood the general principles of 
business, and was skilled in availing himself in others 
of talents which he did not possess. 

During this session, he put on record his first 
anti-slavery protest. It was, in the words of Lamon, 
"a very mild beginning," but it required uncommon 
courage, and is interesting as indicating the principle 
upon which his theory of Emancipation was after- 
wards carried out. At this time the whole country, 
North as well as South, was becoming excited con- 
cerning the doctrines and practices of the small but 
very rapidly-growing body of Abolitionists, who were 
attacking slavery with fiery zeal, and provoking in 
return the most deadly hatred. The Abolitionist, 
carrying the Republican theory to its logical extreme, 



Abolitio7iism, 49 



insisted that all men, white or black, were entitled 
to the same political and social rights ; the slave- 
owners honestly believed that society should consist 
of strata, the lowest of which should be bondmen. 
The Abolitionist did not recognise that slavery in 
America, like serfdom in Russia, had developed into 
culture a country which would, without it, have 
remained a wilderness ; nor did the slave theorists 
recognise that a time must infallibly come when both 
systems of enforced labour must yield to new forms 
of industrial development. The Abolitionists, taking 
their impressions from the early English and Quaker 
philanthropists, thought principally of the personal 
wrong inflicted on the negro ; while the majority of 
Americans declared, with equal conviction, that the 
black's sufferings were not of so much account that 
white men should be made to suffer much more for 
them, and the whole country be possibly overwhelmed 
in civil war. Even at this early period of the dispute, 
there were, however, in the old Whig party, a few 
men who thought that the growing strife was not 
to be stopped simply by crushing the Abolitionists. 
But while they would gladly have seen the latter 
abate their furious zeal, they also thought that slavery 
might, with propriety, be at least checked in its 
progress, since they had observed, with grave mis- 
giving, that wherever it was planted, only an 
aristocracy flourished, while the poor white men 



50 Life of Abraham Lincoln, 

became utterly degraded. Such were the views of 
Abraham Lincoln — views which, in after years, led, 
during the sharp and bitter need of the war, to 
the formation of the theory of Emancipation for 
the sake of the Country, as opposed to mere Abolition 
for the sake of the Negro, which had had its turn 
and fulfilled its mission. 

The feeling against the Abolitionists was very 
bitter in Illinois. Many other states had passed 
severe resolutions, recommending that anti-slavery 
agitation be made an indictable offence, or a mis- 
demeanour; and in May, 1836, Congress declared 
that all future "abolition petitions" should be laid 
on the table without discussion. But when the 
Legislature of Illinois took its turn in the fashion, 
and passed resolutions of the same kind, Abraham 
Lincoln presented to the House a protest which he 
could get but one man, Dan Stone, to sign. Perhaps 
he did not want any more signatures, for he was 
one of those who foresaw to what this cloud, no 
larger than a man's hand, would in future years 
extend, and was willing to be alone as a prophet. 
The protest was as follows : — 

March 3, 1837. 

The following protest was presented to the House, 
which was read and ordered to be spread on the journals, 
to wit: — 

Resolutions upon the subject of domestic slavery having 



The Beginning of Emancipation. 51 

passed both branches of the General Assembly at its 
present session, the undersigned hereby protest against the 
passage of the same. 

They believe that the institution of slavery is founded 
on both injustice and bad policy; but that the promulgation 
of Abolition doctrines tends rather to increase than abate 
its evils. 

-They believe that the Congress of the United States 
has no power under the Constitution to interfere with the 
institution of slavery in the different states. 

They believe that the Congress of the United States 
has the power, under the Constitution, to abolish slavery 
in the district of Columbia ; but that the power ought not 
to be exercised, unless at the request of the people of the 
district. 

The difference between these opinions and those con- 
tained in the said resolutions is their reason for entering 
this protest 

(Signed) Dan Stone. 

A. Lincoln. 
Representatives from the County of Sa?jgamon, 

This was indeed a very mild protest, but it was 
the beginning of that which, in after years, grew 
to be the real Emancipation of the negro. Never 
in history was so fine an end of the wedge succeeded 
by such a wide cleaving bulk. Much as Lincoln 
afterwards accomplished for the abolition of slavery, 
he never, says Holland, became more extreme in 
his views than the words of this protest intimate. 
It was during this session also that he first put 



52 Life of Abraham Lmcoln. 

himself in direct opposition to Douglas by another 
protest. The Democrats, in order to enable the 
aliens — virtually the Irishmen — in their state to 
vote on six months' residence, passed a Bill known 
as the Douglas Bill, remodelling the judiciary in 
such a way as to secure judges who would aid 
them. Against this, Lincoln, E. D. Baker, and others 
protested vigorously, but without avail. Both of 
these protests, though failures at the time, were in 
reality the beginnings of the two great principles 
which led to Lincoln's great success, and the realisa- 
tion of his utmost ambition. During his life, defeat 
was always a step to victory. 



CHAPTER III. 

Lincoln settles at Springfield as a Lawyer — Candidate for the Office of 
Presidential Elector — A Love Affair — Marries Miss Todd — Reli'^ious 
Views —Exerts himself for Henry Clay — Elected to Congress in 1846 — 
Speeches in Congress — Out of Political Employment until 1854— Anec- 
dotes of Lincoln as a Lawyer, 

ABRAHAM LINCOLN'S career was now clear. 
-^ ^ He was to follow the law for a living, as a step 
to political eminence. And as the seat of State 
Government was henceforth to be at Springfield, he 
determined to live where both law and politics might 
be followed to the greatest advantage, since it was 
in Springfield that, in addition to the State Courts, 
the Circuit and District Courts of the United States 
sat. He obtained his license as an attorney in 1837, 
and commenced his practice in the March of that 
year. He entered into partnership with his friend, 
J. T. Stewart, and lived with the Hon. W. Butler, 
who was of great assistance to him in the simple 
matter of living, for he was at this time as poor as 
ever. During 1 837, he delivered several addresses, 
in which there was a strong basis of common sense, 
though they were fervid and figurative to extra- 
vagance, as suited the tastes of his hearers. In these 
speeches he predicted the great struggle on which 



54 Life of Abraham Lincoln, 

the country was about to enter, and that it would 
never be settled by passion but by reason — "cold, 
calculating, unimpassioned reasoning, which must 
furnish all the materials for our future defence and 
support." He also distinguished himself in debate 
and retort, so that ere long he became unrivalled, 
in his sphere, in ready eloquence. From this time, 
for twenty years, he followed his great political 
rival, Douglas, seeking every opportunity to contend 
with him. From 1837 ^^ concerned himself little 
with the politics of his state, but entered with zeal 
into the higher interests of the Federal Union. 

In 1840, Lincoln was a candidate for the office 
of Presidential elector on the Harrison ticket, and 
made speeches through a great part of Illinois. 
Soon after, he again became involved in a love 
affair, which, through its perplexities and the revival 
of the memory of his early disappointment, had a 
terrible effect upon his mind. He had become 
intimate with a Mr. Speed, who remained through 
life his best friend. For a year he was almost a 
lunatic, and was taken to Kentucky by Mr. Speed, 
and kept there until he recovered. It was for this 
reason that he did not attend the Legislature of 
1841-42. It is very characteristic of Lincoln that, 
from boyhood, he never wanted true friends to aid 
him in all his troubles. 

Soon after his recovery, Lincoln became engaged 



Lincoln Marries. 55 

tC Miss Mary Todd. This lady was supposed to 
be gifted as a witty and satirical writer, though it 
must be admitted that the specimens of her literary 
capacity, exhibited in certain anonymous contribu- 
tions to the newspapers, show little talent beyond 
the art of irritation. Several of these were levelled 
at a politician named James Shields, an Irishman, 
who, being told that Lincoln had written them, sent 
him a challenge. The challenge was accepted, but 
the duel was prevented by mutual friends. Lincoln 
married Miss Todd on the 4th November, 1842. 
This marriage, which had not been preceded by the 
most favourable omens, was followed by a singular 
misfortune. In 1843, Lincoln was a Whig candidate 
for Congress, but was defeated. " He had a hard 
time of it, and was compelled to meet accusations of 
a strange character. Among other things, he was 
charged with being an aristocrat, and with having 
deserted his old friends, the people, by marrying a 
proud woman on account of her blood and family. 
This hurt him keenly," says Lamon, "and he took 
great pains to disprove it." Other accusations, 
equally frivolous, relative to his supposed religion 
or irreligion, also contributed to his defeat. 

On this much-vexed subject of Lincoln's religious 
faith, or his want of it, something may here be said. 
In his boyhood, when religious associations are most 
valuable in disciplining the mind^ he had never even 



56 Life of Abraham Lincoln, 

seen a church, and, as he grew older, his sense of 
humour and his rude companions prevented him from 
being seriously impressed by the fervid but often 
eccentric oratory of the few itinerant preachers who 
found their way into the backwoods. At New Salem, 
he had read "Volney's Ruins" and the works of 
Thomas Paine, and w^as for some time a would-be 
unbeliever. It is easy to trace in his youthful 
irreligion the influence of irresistible causes. As he 
grew older, his intensely melancholy and emotional 
temperament inclined him towards reliance in an 
unseen Providence and belief in a future state ; and 
it is certain that, after the unpopularity of free- 
thinkers had forced itself upon his mind, the most 
fervidly passionate expressions of piety began to 
abound in his speeches. In this he was not, however, 
hypocritical. From his childhood, Abraham Lincoln 
was possessed even to unreason with the idea that 
whatever was absolutely popular, was founded on 
reason and right. He was a Republican of Repub- 
licans, faithfully believing that whatever average 
common sense accepted must be followed.^ His own 
personal popularity was at all times very great. 



^ His biographies abound in proof of this. ** He believed that a 
man, in order to effect anything, should work through organisations 
of men." — Holland, p. 92. It is very difficult for any one not brought 
up in the United States to realise the degree to which this idea can 
influence men, and determine their whole moral nature. 



Henry Clay. 57 



One who knew him testifies that, when the lawyers 
travelling the judicial circuit of Illinois arrived at 
the villages where trials were to be held, crowds of 
men and women always assembled to welcome 
Abraham Lincoln. 

Lincoln himself had a great admiration for Henry 
Clay. In 1844, he went through Illinois delivering 
speeches and debating and speaking, or, as it is called 
in America, "stumping" for him, and he even extended 
his labours into Indiana. It was all in vain, and Clay's 
defeat was a great blow to Lincoln.^ At this time, 
though he withdrew from politics in favour of law, 
he began to think seriously of getting a seat in 
Congress. His management of this affair indicates 
forcibly his entire faith in party-right, and his prin- 
ciple of never advancing beyond his party. Of all 
the men of action known to history as illustrating 
great epochs, there never was a more thorough man 
of action than Lincoln, but the brain which inspired 
his action was always that of the people. 

Through all his poverty, Lincoln was always just 
and generous. In 1843, while living with his wife 
fbr four dollars a-week, at a country tavern, he gave 
up a promissory-note for a large fee to an im- 
poverished client who, after the trial, had lost a hand. 



^ It is a matter of regret that, when Lincohi, long after, went to 
see his idol and ideal, he was greatly disappointed in him. — Holland, 
p. 95. Lamon denies this visit, but does not disprove it. 



58 Life of Abraham Lincoln, 

He paid all his own debts, and generously aided his 
stepmother and other friends. 

In 1846, Lincoln accepted the nomination for 
Congress. His Democratic opponent was Peter 
Cartwright, a celebrated pioneer Methodist preacher. 
It is a great proof of Lincoln's popularity that he 
was elected by an unprecedented majority, though 
he was the only Whig Congressman from Illinois. 
At this session, his almost life-long adversary, Douglas, 
took a place in the Senate. Both houses shone with 
an array of great and brilliant names, and Lincoln, 
as the only representative of his party from his state, 
was in a critical and responsible situation. But he 
was no novice in legislation, and he acquitted himself 
bravely. He became a member of the Committee 
on Post Offices and Post Roads, and in that capacity 
made his first speech. He found it as easy a matter 
to address his new colleagues as his old clients, 
"I was about as badly scared," he wrote to W. J, 
Herndon, " and no worse, as when I speak in court." 
During this session, the United States were at war 
with Mexico, and Lincoln was, with his party, in a 
painful dilemma. They were opposed to the principle 
of the war, since they detested forcible acquisition 
of territory, and it was evident that Mexico was 
wanted by the South to extend the area of slavery. 
Yet they could not, in humanity, withhold supplies 
from the army in Mexico while fighting bravely. 



The Mexican War. 59 

So Lincoln denounced the war, and yet voted the 
supplies — an inconsistency creditable to his heart, 
but which involved him in trouble with his consti- 
tuents. But he struck the Administration a severe 
blow in what was really his first speech before the 
whole House. President Polk having declared, in 
a Message, that "the Mexicans had invaded our 
territory, and shed the blood of our citizens on our 
own soil," Lincoln introduced what were called the 
famous "spot resolutions," in which the President 
was invited in a series of satirical yet serious 
questions to indicate the spot where this outrage had 
been committed. 

Lincoln was very busy this year. The Whig 
National Convention was to nominate a candidate 
for President on the 1st June, and he was to be one 
of its members. On July 27th, he delivered, in 
Congress, a speech as remarkable in some respects 
for solid sense and shrewdness as it was in others 
for eccentric drollery and scathing Western retorts. 
The second session, 1848-49, was quieter. At one 
time he proposed, as a substitute for a resolution 
that slavery be at once abolished by law in the 
district of Columbia, another, providing that the 
owners be paid for their slaves. If he did little in 
this session to attract attention, he made for himself 
a name, and was known as a powerful speaker and a 
rising man ; but, after returning to Springfield, 



6o Life of Abraham Lincoln. 

thoueh a Whis: President had been elected, and his 
own reputation greatly increased, he was thrown out 
of political employment until the year 1854. He 
made great efforts to secure the office of Com- 
missioner of the General Land Office, but failed. 
President Fillmore, it is true, offered him the Governor- 
ship of Oregon, but Mrs. Lincoln induced him to 
decline it. . 

In 1850, his friends wished to nominate him for 
Congress, but he positively refused the honour. It 
is thought that he wished to establish himself in his 
profession for the sake of a support for his family, 
or that he had entered into a secret understanding 
with other candidates for Congress, who were to 
nominally oppose each other, but in reality secure 
election in turn by excluding rivals.^ But it is most 
probable that he clearly foresaw at this time the 
tremendous struggle which was approaching between 
North and South, and wished to prepare himself for 
some great part in it. To engage in minor political 
battles and be defeated, as would probably be the 
case in his district, where his war-vote in Congress 
was still remembered to his disadvantage, would have 



1 Lamon, p. 275, says there can be no doubt that Mr. Lincoln 
would have cheerfully made such a dishonourable and tricky ajjree- 
ment, but inclines to think he did not. It is very doubtful whether 
the compact, if it existed at all, was not made simply for the purpose 
of excluding the Democrats. 



Legal Experiences, 6i 

seriously injured his future prospects of every kind. 
He said, in 1850, to his friend Stuart — "The time 
will come when we must all be Democrats or 
Abolitionists. When that time comes, my mind is 
made up. The slavery question can't be compro- 
mised." 

Many interesting anecdotes of Lincoln's legal 
experiences at this time have been preserved. In 
his first case, at Springfield, he simply admitted that 
all laws and precedents were in favour of his 
opponent, and, having stated them in detail, left the 
decision to the Court. He would never take an 
unjust, or mean, or a purely litigious case. When 
retained with a colleague, named Swett, to defend 
a man accused of murder, Lincoln became convinced 
of his client's guilt, and said to his associate — "You 
must defend him — I cannot." Mr. Swett obtained 
an acquittal, but Lincoln would take no part of the 
large fee which was paid. On one occasion, however, 
when one of his own friends of boyhood, John Arm- 
strong, was indicted for a very atrocious murder, 
Lincoln, moved by the tears and entreaties of the 
aged mother of the prisoner, consented to plead his 
cause. It having been testified that, when the man 
was murdered, the full moon was shining high in the 
heavens, Lincoln, producing an almanac, proved that, 
on the night in question, there was in fact no moon 
at all. Those who were associated with him for 



62 Life of Abraham Lincoln. 

years declare that they never knew a lawyer who 
was so moderate in his charges. Though he attained 
great reputation in his profession, the highest fee 
he ever received was 5,000 dollars. His strength 
lay entirely in shrewd common sense, in quickly 
mastering all the details of a case, and in ready 
eloquence or debate, for he had very little law- 
learning, and was averse to making researches. But 
his rare genius for promptly penetrating all the 
difficulties of a legal or political problem, which 
aided him so much as President, enabled him to deal 
with juries in a masterly manner. On one occasion, 
when thirty-four witnesses swore to a fact on one 
side, and exactly as many on the other, Mr. Lincoln 
proposed a very practical test to the jury — " If you 
were going to bet on this case," he said, " on which 
side would you lay a picayune.?"^ 

Any poor person in distress for want of legal aid 
could always find a zealous friend in Lincoln. On 
one occasion, a poor old negro woman came to him 
and Mr. Herndon, complaining that her son had been 
imprisoned at New Orleans for simply going, in his 
ignorance, ashore, thereby breaking a disgraceful 
law which then existed, forbidding free men of 
colour from other states to enter Louisiana. Having 
been condemned to pay a fine, and being without 

* Holland, p. 82. A picayune is six cents, or 3d, 



The Poor Slave. 6^ 

money, the poor man was about to be sold for 
a slave. Messrs. Lincoln and Herndon, finding law 
of no avail, ransomed the prisoner out of their own 
pockets. In those days, a free-born native of a 
Northern state could, if of African descent, be seized 
and sold simply for setting foot on Southern 
sotU 



CHAPTER IV. 

Rise of the Southern Party — Formation of the Abohtion and the Free 
Soil Parties — Judge Douglas and the Kansas- Nebraska Bill — Douglas 
defeated by Lincoln — Lincoln resigns as Candidate for Congress — 
Lincoln's Letter on Slavery — The Bloomington Speech — The Fremont 
Campaign — Election of Buchanan — The Dred-Scott Decision. 

THE great storm of civil war which now threatened 
the American Ship of State had been long 
brewing. Year by year the party of slave-owners — 
small in number but strong in union, and unani- 
mously devoted to the acquisition of political power 
—had progressed, until they saw before them the 
possibility of ruling the entire continent. To please 
them, the nation, after purchasing, had admitted as 
slave territory the immense regions of Louisiana 
and Florida, and in their interests a war had been 
waged with Mexico. But, so early as 1820, the 
North, alarmed at the incredible progress of slave- 
power, and observing that wherever it was established 
white labour was paralysed, and that society resolved 
itself at once into a small aristocracy, with a large 
number of blacks and poor whites who were systema- 
tically degraded,^ attempted to check its territorial 

* There were no free schools in South Carolina until 1852, and 
it was a serious crime to teach a negro to read. 



Growth of the Slave Power. 65 

extension. There was a contest, which was finally 
settled by what was known as the Missouri Com- 
promise, by which it was agreed that Missouri should 
be admitted as a slave state, but that in future all 
territory North and West of Missouri, above latitude 
36° 30', should be for ever free.^ 

While the inhabitants of the Eastern and Western 
States applied themselves to every development of 
industrial pursuits, art, and letters, the Southerners 
lived by agricultural slave-labour, and were entirely 
devoted to acquiring political power. The contest 
was unequal, and the result was that, before the Rebel- 
lion, the slave-holders — who, with their slaves, only 
constituted one-third of the population of the United 
States — had secured /w^-thirds of all the offices — 
civil, military, or naval — and had elected two-thirds of 
the Presidents. Law after law was passed, giving the 
slave-holders every advantage, until Governor Henry 
A. Wise, of Virginia, declared in Congress that slavery 
should pour itself abroad, and have no limit but the 
Southern Ocean. He also asserted that the best way 
to meet or answer Abolition arguments was with 
death. His house was afterwards, during the war, 
used for a negro school, under care of a New England 
Abolitionist. Large pecuniary rewards were offered 
by Governors of slave states for the persons — i,e., the 
lives — of eminent Northern anti-slavery men. Direct 

^ Arnold, "History of Lincoln," p. 33. 



66 Life of Abraham Lincoln, 

efforts were made to re-establish the slave-trade 
between Africa and the Southern States. 

In 1839 the Abolition party was formed, which 
advocated the total abolition of slavery. This was 
going too far for the mass of the North, who hoped 
to live at peace with the South. But still there were 
many in both the Whig and Democratic parties 
who wished to see the advance of the slave power 
checked ; and their delegates, meeting at Buffalo in 
June, 1848, formed the Free Soil party, opposed to 
the further extension of slavery, which rapidly grew 
in power. The struggle became violent. When the 
territory acquired by war from Mexico was to be 
admitted to the Union in 1846, David Wilmot, of 
Pennsylvania, offered a proviso to the Bill accepting 
the territory, to the effect that slavery should be 
unknown in it. There was a fierce debate for two 
years over this proviso, which was finally rejected. 
The most desperate legislation was adopted to make 
California a slave state, and when she decided by 
her own will to be free, the slave-holders opposed 
her admission to the Union. Finally, in 1850, the 
celebrated Compromise Measures were adopted. 
These were to the effect that California should be 
admitted free — that in New Mexico and Utah the 
people should decide for themselves as to slavery — 
and that such of Texas as was above latitude 36° 30' 
should be free. To this, however, was tacked a new 



The Kansas-Nebraska Bill. 67 

and more cruel fugitive slave law,^ apparently to 
humiliate and annoy the free states, and to keep 
irritation alive. 

But, on the 4th January, 1854, Judge Douglas 
introduced into the Senate of the United States a 
Bill known as the Kansas-Nebraska Bill, proposing 
to set aside the Missouri Compromise. This was 
passed, after a tremendous struggle, on May 22nd 
and the slave-party triumphed. Yet it proved their 
ruin, for it was the first decisive step to the strife 
which ended in civil war. It eventually destroyed 
Mr. Douglas, its originator. He is said to have 
repented the deed ; and when it became evident that 
the Union was aroused, and that the Republican 



^ A law by which slaves who had escaped to free states were returned 
to their owners. The writer, as a boy, has seen many cruel instances 
of the manner in which the old slave law was carried out. But while 
great pains were taken to hunt down and return slaves who had 
escaped to free states, there was literally nothing done to return free 
coloured people who had been inveigled or carried by force to the 
South, and there sold as slaves. It was believed that, at one time, 
hardly a day passed during which a free black was not thus entrapped 
from Pennsylvania. The writer once knew, in Philadelphia, a boy 
of purely white blood, but of dark complexion, who narrowly escaped 
being kidnapped by downright violence, that he might be " sent 
South." White children were commonly terrified by parents or 
nurses with "the kidnappers," who would black their faces, and sell 
them. Even in the Northern cities, there were few grown-up negro 
men who had not, at one time or another, been hunted by the lower 
classes of whites through the streets in the most incredibly barbarous 
manner. 



68 Life of Abraham Lincoln. 

would be the winning party, Douglas went over to 
it. " He had long before invoked destruction on the 
ruthless hand which should disturb the compromise, 
and now he put forth his own ingenious hand to do 
the deed and to take the curse, in both of which 
he was eminently successful." He was defeated by 
the honester and wiser Lincoln, and died a dis- 
appointed man. 

To suit the slave-party, it was originally agreed, 
in 1820, that in future they, though so greatly inferior 
in number, should have half the territory of the 
Union. But as they found in time that population 
increased most rapidly in the free territories, the 
compromise of 1850 was arranged, by which the 
inhabitants of the new states were to decide for 
themselves in the matter. The result was an imme- 
diate and terrible turmoil. The legitimate dwellers 
in Kansas were almost all steady, law-abiding farmers 
who hated slavery. But, from Missouri and the 
neighbouring slave states, there was poured in, by 
means of committees and funds raised in the South, 
a vast number of " Border ruffians," or desperadoes, 
who would remain in Kansas only long enough to 
vote illegally, or to rob and ravage, and then retire. 
The North, on the other hand, exasperated by these 
outrages, sent numbers of emigrants to Kansas to 
support the legitimate settlers, and the result was a 
virtual civil war, which was the more irritating because 



Defeat of Douglas, 69 



President Buchanan did all in his power to aid the 
Border ruffians, and crush the legitimate settlers. 
Day by day it became evident that the Kansas- 
Nebraska Bill had been passed for the purpose of 
enabling the South to quit the Union, and ere long 
this was openly avowed by the slave-holding press 
and politicians. The entire North was now fiercely 
irritated. Judge Douglas, returning westwards, tried 
to speak at Chicago, but was hissed down. At the 
state fair in Springfield, Illinois, Oct. 4th, 1854, he 
spoke in defence of the Nebraska Bill, but was 
replied to by Lincoln "with such power as he had 
never exhibited before." He was no longer the orator 
he had been, " but a newer and greater Lincoln, the 
like of whom no one in that vast multitude had ever 
heard." "The Nebraska Bill," says W. H. Hern- 
don, "was shivered, and, like a tree of the forest, 
was torn and rent asunder by hot bolts of truth." 
Douglas was crushed, and his brief reply was 
a spiritless failure. From this time forth, Lincoln's 
speeches were as unexceptional in form as they 
were vigorous and logical. Never was there a 
man of whom it could be said with so much truth 
that he always rose to the occasion, however great, 
however unprecedented its demands on his power 
might be. 

From Springfield Lincoln followed Douglas to 
Peoria, where he delivered, in debate, another great 



70 Life of Abraham Lincoln, 

speech. Not liking slavery in itself, Lincoln was 
willing to let it alone under the old compromise, 
but he would never suffer its introduction to new 
territories, and he made it clear as day that Douglas, 
by opening the flood-gate of slavery on free soil, 
had let loose a torrent which, if unchecked, would 
sweep everything to destruction. He had previously, 
at Springfield, disclosed the fallacy of Douglas's 
"great principle" by a single sentence. "I admit 
that the emigrant to Kansas is competent to govern 
himself, but I deny his right to govern any other 
person without that person's consent." Such argu- 
ments were overwhelming, and Douglas, the Giant 
of the West and the foremost politician in America, 
felt that he had met his master at his own peculiar 
weapons — oratory and debate. He sent for Lincoln, 
and proposed that both should refrain from speaking 
during the campaign, and Lincoln, conscious of 
superior strength, agreed. Douglas did speak once 
more, however, but Lincoln remained silent. 

At the end of this campaign, Lincoln was elected 
to the Legislature of Illinois. As the Legislature 
was about to elect a United States Senator, Lincoln 
resigned to become a candidate. But at the election 
— there being three candidates — Lincoln, finding that 
by resigning he could make it sure that an anti' 
Nebraska man (Judge Trumbull) could be elected, 
and that there was some uncertainty as to his own 



The Kansas Struggle. yi 

success, resigned, in the noblest manner, in favour 
of his principles and party. It had been the 
ambition of his life to become a United States 
Senator. The result of this sacrifice, says Holland, 
was that, when the Republican party was soon 
after regularly organised, Lincoln became their 
foremost man. 

Meanwhile, the strife in Kansas grew more des- 
perate. One Governor after another was appointed 
to the state, for the express purpose of turning it 
over to slavery; but the outrageous frauds practised 
at the election were too much for Mr. Reeder and 
his successor, Shannon, and even for his follower, 
Robert J. Walker, a man not over-scrupulous. 
Walker, like many other Democrats, adroitly turned 
with the tide, but too late. 

During 1855, the old parties were breaking up, 
and the new Republican one was gathering with great 
rapidity. Two separate governments or legislatures 
had formed in Kansas, one manifestly and boldly 
fraudulent in favour of slavery, and the other settled 
at Topeka, headed by Governor Reeder, consisting 
of legitimate settlers. At this time, Aug. 24th, 1855, 
Lincoln wrote to his friend Speed a letter, in which 
he discussed slavery with great shrewdness. In 
answer to the standing Southern argument, that 
slavery did not concern Northern people, and that 
it was none of their business, he replied — 



72 Life of Abraham Lincoln. 

"In 1841, you and I had together a tedious low- 
water trip on a steamboat, from Louisville to St. 
Louis. You may remember as well as I do that, 
from Louisville to the mouth of the Ohio, there 
were on board ten or a dozen slaves shackled with 
irons. That sight was a continual torment to me, 
and I see something like it every time I touch the 
Ohio, or any other slave-border. It is not fair for 
you to assume that I have no interest in a thing 
which has, and continually exercises, the power of 
making me miserable. You ought rather to appre- 
ciate how much the great body of the Northern 
people do crucify their feelings, in order to maintain 
their loyalty to the Constitution and the Union. I 
do oppose the extension of slavery, because my 
judgment and feelings so prompt me ; and I am 
under no obligations to the contrary. If for this 
you and I must differ, differ we must." 

On May 29th, 1856, Lincoln attended a meeting 
at Bloomington, Illinois, where, with his powerful 
assistance, the Republican party of the state was 
organised, and delegates were appointed to the 
National Republican Convention which was to be 
held on the 17th of the following month at Phila- 
delphia. The speech which he made on this occasion 
was of extraordinary power. From this day he was 
regarded by the Republicans of the West as their 
leader. Therefore, in the Republican National Con- 



Fremont'' s Nominaiton. 73 

vention of 1856, at Philadelphia, the Illinois delega- 
tion presented his name for the Vice-Presidency. 
He received a complimentary vote of no votes, the 
successful candidate, Dayton, having 259. This, 
however, was his formal introduction to the nation. 
At this convention, John C. Fremont, a plausible 
political pretender, was nominated for the Presidency. 
As a candidate for Presidential elector, Lincoln again 
took the field. He made a thorough and energetic 
canvass, and his greatly improved powers of oratory 
now manifested themselves. Probably no man in the 
country, says Lamon, discussed the main questions at 
issue in a manner more original and persuasive. 
Buchanan, the Democratic candidate, was elected by 
a small majority. The Republican vote was largely 
increased by many offensive and inhuman enforce- 
ments of the fugitive slave law,^ for it seemed at 
this time as if the South had gone mad, and was 
resolved to do all in its power to irritate the North 
into war. 

On March 4th, 1857, Buchanan, the last Slave- 
President, was inaugurated, and, a few days after, 
Judge Taney, of the Supreme Court, rendered the 
famous " Dred Scott" decision relative to a fugitive 
negro slave of that name, to the effect that a man 
of African slave descent could not be a citizen of 
the United States — that the prohibition of slavery was 

* Arnold, p. 95. 



74 Life of Abraham Lincoln, 

unconstitutional, and that it existed by the Constitu- 
tion in all the territories. Judge Taney, in fact, 
declared that the negro had no rights which the 
white man was bound to respect. "Against the 
Constitution — against the memory of the nation — 
against a previous decision — against a series of 
enactments — he decided that the slave is property, 
and that the Constitution upholds it against every 
other property."^ This decision was regarded as an 
outrage even by many old Democrats. In the same 
year the slavery-party in Kansas passed, by fraud 
and violence, the celebrated Lecompton Constitution, 
upholding slavery. By this time, Judge Douglas, 
the author of all this mischief, wishing to be re-elected 
to the Senate, and finding that there was no chance 
for him as a pro-slavery candidate, was suddenly 
seized with indignation at the Lecompton affair, 
which he pronounced an outrage. The result was 
the division of the Democratic party. He then made 
a powerful speech at Springfield, defending his course 
with great shrewdness, but it was, as usual, blown 
to the winds by a reply from Lincoln. Douglas 
suddenly became a zealous " Free Soiler," after 
the manner admirably burlesqued by "Petroleum 
Nasby,"^ when that worthy found it was necessary 

1 George Bancroft, "Oration on Lincoln," pp. 13, 14. 

2 David R. Locke, who, under the name of Petroleum V. Nasby, 
wrote political satires much admired by Mr. Lincoln. 



1 he '^House-divided'" Speech. 75 

to become an anti-slavery man to keep his post- 
office. At this time Douglas made his famous 
assertion that he did not care whether slavery was 
voted up or down ; and in the following year, April 
30th, 1858, Congress passed the English Bill, by 
which the people of Kansas were offered heavy 
bribes in land if they would accept the Lecompton 
Constitution, but which the people rejected by an 
immense majority. 

On the i6th June, 185 8, a Republican State Con- 
vention at Springfield, nominated Lincoln for the 
Senate, and on the 17th he delivered a bold speech, 
soon to be known far and wide as the celebrated 
" House divided against itself" speech. It began 
with these words — 

"If we could first know where we are, and whither 
we are tending, we could then better judge what to 
do, and how to do it. We are now far on into the 
fifth year since a policy was initiated with the avowed 
object and confident promise of putting an end to 
slavery agitation. Under the operation of that 
policy, that agitation had not only not ceased, but 
has constantly augmented. In my opinion, it will 
not cease until a crisis shall have been reached and 
passed. 'A house divided against itself cannot 
stand.' I believe this Government cannot endure 
permanently, half slave and half free. I do not 
expect the Union to be dissolved — I do not expect 



76 Life of Abraham Lincoln, 

the house to fall — but I do expect it will cease to 
be divided. It will become all one thing or all 
the other. Either the opponents of slavery will 
arrest the further spread of it, and place it where 
the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is 
in the course of ultimate extinction, or its advocates 
will push it forward till it shall become alike lawful 
in all the States — old as well as new, North as well 
as South. 

" Have we no tendency to the latter condition } 
Let any one who doubts carefully contemplate that 
now almost complete legal combination — piece of 
machinery, so to speak — compounded of the Nebraska 
doctrine and the Dred Scott decision. Let him 
consider not only what work the machinery is adapted 
to do, and how well adapted, but also let him study 
the history of its construction, and trace, if he can, 
or rather fail, if he can, to trace the evidences of 
design and concert of action among its chief master- 
workers from the beginning." 

These were awful words to the world, and with 
awe were they received. Lincoln was the first man 
among the "moderates" who had dared to speak 
so plainly. His friends were angry, but in due time 
this tremendous speech had the right effect, for 
it announced the truth. Meanwhile, Lincoln and 
Douglas were again paired together as rivals, and 
at one place the latter put to his adversary a series 



The Douglas Questions, yj 

of questions, which were promptly answered. In 
return, Lincoln gave Douglas four others, by one of 
which he was asked if the people of a United States 
territory could in any lawful way, against the wish of 
any citizen of the United States, exclude slavery 
from its limits ? To which Douglas replied that the 
people of a territory had the lawful means to exclude 
slavery by legislative action. This reply brought 
Douglas into direct antagonism with the pro-slavery 
men. He hoped, by establishing a "platform" of 
his own, to head so many Democrats that the Repub- 
licans would welcome his accession, and make him 
President. But Lincoln, by these questions, and by 
his unyielding attacks, weakened him to his ruin. 
It is true that Judge Douglas gained his seat in the 
Senate, but it was by an old and unjust law in the 
Legislature, as Lincoln really had four thousand 
majority. 

The speeches which Lincoln delivered during this 
campaign, and which were afterwards published with 
those of Douglas, were so refined and masterly that 
many believed they had been revised for him by able 
friends. But from this time all his oratory indicated 
an advance in all respects. He was now bent on 
great things. 



CHAPTER V, 

Causes of Lincoln's Nomination to the Presidency — His Lectures in New 
York, &c. — The first Nomination and the Fence Rails — The Nomination 
at Chicago — Elected President — Office-seekers and Appointments — 
Lincoln's Impartiality — The South determined to Secede — Fears for 
Lincoln's Life. 

IT is an almost invariable law of stern equity in the 
United States, as it must be in all true republics, 
that the citizen who has distinguished himself by 
great services must not expect really great rewards. 
The celebrity which he has gained seems, in a 
commonwealth, where all are ambitious of distinction, 
to be sufficient recompense. It is true that at times 
some overwhelming favourite, generally a military 
hero, is made an exception ; but there are few very 
ambitious civilians who do not realise that a prophet 
is without great honour in his own country. Other 
instances may occur where aspiring men have care- 
fully concealed their hopes, and of such was Abraham 
Lincoln. Perhaps his case is best stated by Lamon, 
who declares that he had all the requisites of an 
available candidate for the Presidency, chiefly because 
he had not been sufficiently prominent in national 
politics to excite the jealousies of powerful rivals. 
In order to defeat one another, these rivals will put 



Visit to New York. 79 

forward some comparatively unknown man, and thus 
Lincoln was greatly indebted to the jealousy with 
which Horace Greeley, a New York politician, regard- 
ed his rival, W. H. Seward. Lincoln's abilities were 
very great, *' but he knew that becoming modesty in 
la great man was about as needful as anything else.'* 
Therefore, when his friend Pickett suggested that he 
might aspire to the Chief Magistracy, he replied, 
" I do not think I am fit for the Presidency." 

But he had friends who thought differently, and 
in the winter of 1859, Jackson Grimshaw, Mr. Hatch, 
the Secretary of State, and Messrs. Bushnell, Judd, 
and Peck, held a meeting, and, after a little persuasion, 
induced Lincoln to allow them to put him forward 
as a candidate for the great office. In October, 1859, 
Lincoln received an invitation from a committee of 
citizens to give a lecture in New York.' He was much 
pleased with this intimation that he was well known 
in " the East," and wrote out with great care a 
pt)litical address, which, when delivered, was warmly 
praised by the newspapers, one of which, the 
" Tribune," edited by Horace Greeley, declared that 
no man ever before made such an impression on 
his first appeal to a New York audience. The subject 
of the discourse was a most logical, vigorous, and 
masterly comment upon an assertion which Judge 
Douglas had made, to the effect that the framers 

' See Appendix. 



So Life of Abraham Lincoln. 

of the Constitution had understood and approved 
of slavery. No better vindication of the rights of 
the Republican party to be considered as expressing 
and carrying out in all respects the opinions of 
Washington and of the framers of the Constitution, 
was ever set forth. From New York he went to 
New England, lecturing in many cities, and every- 
where verifying what was said of him in the " Man- 
chester Mirror," that he spoke with great fairness, 
candour, and with wonderful interest. " He did not 
abuse the South, the Administration, or the Demo- 
crats. He is far from prepossessing in personal 
appearance, and his voice is disagreeable, yet he wins 
your attention and good-will from the start. His 
sense of the ludicrous is very keen, and an exhibition 
of that is the clincher of all his arguments — not the 
ludicrous acts of persons, but ludicrous ideas. Hence 
he is never offensive, and steals away willingly into 
his train of belief persons who were opposed to him. 
For the first half-hour his opponents would agree 
with every word he uttered, and from that point he 
began to lead them off, little by little, until it seemed 
as if he had got them all into his fold." 

Lincoln was now approaching with great rapidity 
the summit of his wishes. On May 9th and loth the 
Republican State Convention met at Springfield for the 
purpose of nominating a candidate for the Presidency, 
and it is said that Lincoln did not appear to have 



The State Nomination. 8-1 

had any idea that any business relative to himself 
was to be transacted. For it is unquestionable that, 
while very ambitious, he was at the same time 
remarkably modest. When he went to lecture in 
New York, and the press reporters asked him for 
"slips," or copies of his speech, he was astonished, 
not feeling sure whether the newspapers would care 
to publish it. At this Convention, he was "sitting 
on his heels" in a back part of the room, and the 
Governor of Illinois, as soon as the meeting was 
organised, rose and said — " I am informed that a 
distinguished citizen of Illinois, and one whom 
Illinois will ever delight to honour, is present, and 
I wish to move that this body invite him to a 
seat on the stand." And, pausing, he exclaimed, 
"Abraham Lincoln." There was tremendous applause, 
and the mob seizing Lincoln, raised him in their 
arms, and bore him, sturdily resisting, to the plat- 
form. A gentleman who was present said — " I then 
thought him one of the most diffident and worst- 
plagued men I ever saw." The next proceeding was 
most amusing and characteristic, it being the entrance 
of " Old John Hanks," with two fence-rails bearing 
the inscription — Tivo Rails from a lot made by 
Abraham Lincoln and John Hanks in the Sangamon 
bottom in the year i8jo. The end was that Lincoln 
was the declared candidate of his state for the 
Presidency. 



8« Life of Abraham Lincoln. 

But there were othei* candidates from other states, 
and at the great Convention in Chicago, on May 
i6th, there was as fierce intriguing and as much 
shrewdness shown as ever attended the election of 
a Pope. After pubHshing the " platform," or declara- 
tion of the principles of the Republican party — which 
was in the main a stern denunciation of all further 
extension of slavery — with a declaration in favour 
of protection, the rights of foreign citizens, and a 
Pacific railroad, the Convention proceeded to the 
main business. It was soon apparent that the real 
strife lay between W. H. Seward, of New York, and 
Abraham Lincoln. It would avail little to expose 
all the influences of trickery and enmity resorted to 
by the friends of either candidate on this occasion — 
suffice it to say that, eventually, Lincoln received 
the nomination, which was the prelude to the most 
eventful election ever witnessed in America. What 
followed has been well described by Lamon. 

**A11 that day, and all the day previous, Mr. 
Lincoln was at Springfield, trying to behave as 
usual, but watching, with nervous anxiety, the pro- 
ceedings of the Convention as they were reported 
by telegraph. On both days he played a great deal 
at fives in a ball-alley. It is probable that he took 
this physical mode of working off or keeping down 
the excitement that threatened to posses^ him. 
About nine o'clock in the morning, Mr. Lincoln came 



Success, 8' 



to the office of Lincoln and Herndon. Mr. Baker 
entered, with a telegram which said the names of 
the candidates had been announced, and that Mr. 
Lincoln's had been received with more applause than 
any other. When the news of the first ballot came 
over the wire, it was apparent to all present that 
Mr. Lincoln thought it very favourable. He believed 
if Mr. Seward failed to get the nomination, or to 
come very near it, on the first ballot, he would fail 
altogether. Presently, news of the second ballot 
arrived, and then Mr. Lincoln showed by his manner 
that he considered the contest no longer doubtful. 
' I've got him,* said he. When the decisive despatch 
at length arrived, there was great commotion. Mr. 
Lincoln seemed to be calm, but a close observer 
could detect in his countenance the indications of 
deep emotion. In the meantime, cheers for Lincoln 
swelled up from the streets, and began to be heard 
through the town. Some one remarked, ' Mr. Lincoln, 
I suppose now we will soon have a book containing 
your life.' ' There is not much,' he replied, * in my 
past life about which to write a book, as it seems 
to me.' Having received the hearty congratulations 
of the company in the office, he descended to the 
street, where he was immediately surrounded by Irish 
and American citizens; and, so long as he was willing 
to receive it, there was great hand-shaking and felici- 
tating. * Gentlemen,' said the great man, with a 



84 Life of Abraham Lincoln, 

m ^ 

happy twinkle in his eye, 'you had better come up 
and shake my hand while you can ; honours elevate 
some men, you know.' But he soon bethought him 
of a person who was of more importance to him than 
all this crowd. Looking towards his house, he said — 
'Well, gentlemen, there is a little short woman at 
our house who is probably more interested in this 
despatch than I am ; and, if you will excuse me, I 
will take it up and let her see it.'" 

The division caused by Douglas in the Democratic 
party to further his own personal ambition, utterly 
destroyed its power for a long time. The result was 
a division — one convention nominating Judge Douglas 
for the Presidency, with Mr. Johnson, of Georgia, as 
Vice-President ; and the other, John C. Breckinridge, 
of Kentucky, with Joseph Lane, of Oregon, for the 
second office. Still another party, the Constitutional 
Union party, nominated John Bell, of Tennessee, 
and Edward Everett, of Massachusetts, for President 
and Vice-President. Thus there were four rival 
armies in the political field, soon to be merged into 
two in real strife. On Nov. 6th, i860, Abraham 
Lincoln was elected President of the United States, 
receiving 1,857,610 votes; Douglas had 1,291,574; 
Breckinridge, 850,082; Bell, 646,124. Of all the 
votes really cast, there was a majority of 930,170 
against Lincoln — a fact which was afterwards con- 
tinually urged by the Southern party, which called 



Office- Hunters, 85 



him the Minority President. But when the electors 
who are chosen to elect the President met, they gave 
Lincoln 180 votes ; Breckinridge, 72 ; Bell, 30; while 
Douglas, who might, beyond question, have been the 
successful candidate had he been less crafty, received 
only 12. The strife between him and Lincoln had 
been like that between the giant and the hero in 
the Norse mythology, wherein the two gave to each 
other riddles, on the successful answers to which 
their lives depended. Judge Douglas strove to 
entrap Lincoln with a long series of questions which 
were easily eluded, but one was demanded of the 
questioner himself, and the answer he gave to it 
proved his destruction. 

The immediate result of Lincoln's election was 
such a rush of hungry politicians seeking office as 
had never before been witnessed. As every appoint- 
ment in the United States, from the smallest post- 
office to a Secretaryship, is in the direct gift of the 
President, the newly-elected found himself attacked 
by thousands of place-hunters, ready to prove that 
they were the most deserving men in the world for 
reward ; and if they did not, as "Artemus Ward" 
declares, come down the chimneys of the White 
House to interview him, they at least besieged him 
with such pertinacity, and made him so thoroughly 
wretched, that he is said to have at last replied to 
one man who insisted that it was really to his 



S6 Life of Abraham Lincoln, 

exertions that the President owed his election— 
" If that be so, I wonder you are not ashamed to 
look me in the face for getting me into such an 
abominable situation." 

From his own good nature, and from a sincere 
desire to really deserve his popular name of Honest 
Old Abe, Lincoln determined to appoint the best 
men to office, irrespective of party. Hoping against 
hope to preserve the Union, he would have given 
place in his Cabinet to Southern Democrats as well 
as to Northern Republicans. But as soon as it was 
understood that he was elected, and that the country 
would have a President opposed to the extension 
of slavery, the South began to prepare to leave the 
Union, and for war. It was in vain that Lincoln 
and the great majority of his party made it clear 
as possible that, rather than see the country destroyed 
by war and by disunion, they would leave slavery as 
it was. This did not suit the views of the " rule-or- 
ruin" party of the South ; and as secession from the 
Federal Union became a fixed fact, their entire press 
and all their politicians declared that their object was 
not merely to build up a Southern Confederacy, but 
to legislate so as to destroy the industry of the North, 
and break the old Union into a thousand conflictine 
independent governments. Therefore, Lincoln, in 
intending to offer seats in the Cabinet to Alexander 
H. Stephens, James Guthrie, of Kentijcl^y, apd John 



Rumours of War, ^'j 

A. Gilmer, of North Carolina, made — if sincere — a 
great mistake, though one in every way creditable 
to his heart and his courtesy. The truth was, that 
the South had for four years unanimously determined 
to secede, and was actually seceding ; while the North, 
which had gone beyond the extreme limits of 
endurance and of justice itself to conciliate the South, 
could not believe that fellow-countrymen and brothers 
seriously intended war. For it was predetermined 
and announced by the Southern press that, unless 
the Federal Government would make concessions 
beyond all reason, and put itself in the position of 
a disgraced and conquered state, there must be war. 
As the terrible darkness began to gather, and the 
storm-signals to appear, Lincoln sought for temporary 
relief in visiting his stepmother and other old friends 
and relatives in Coles County. The meeting with 
her whom he had always regarded as his mother was 
very touching ; it was the more affecting because she, 
to whom he was the dearest on Darth, was under 
an impression, which time rendered prophetic, that 
he would, as President, be assassinated. This antici- 
pation spread among his friends, who vied with one 
another in gloomy suggestions of many forms 
of murder — while one very zealous prophet, who 
had fixed on poison as the means by which Lincoln 
would die, urged him to take as a cook from home 
"one among his own female friends." 



CHAPTER VI. 

A Suspricted Conspiracy — Lincoln's Departure for Washington — His 
Speeches at Springfield and on the road to the National Capital — 
Breaking out of the Rebellion — Treachery of President Buchanan — 
Treason in the Cabinet— Jefferson Davis's Message — Threats of Massacre 
and Ruin to the North — Southern Sympathisers — Lincoln's Inaugural 
Address — The Cabinet — The Days of Doubt and of Darkness. 

IT was unfortunate for Lincoln that he listened 
to the predictions of his alarmed friends. So 
generally did the idea prevail that an effort would 
be made to kill him on his way to Washington, that 
a few fellows of the lower class in Baltimore, headed 
by a barber named Ferrandina, thinking to gain a 
little notoriety — as they actually did get some money 
from Southern sym^pathisers — gave out that they 
intended to murder Mr. Lincoln on his journey to 
Washington. Immediately a number of detectives 
was set to work ; and as everybody seemed to wish 
to find a plot, a plot was found, or imagined, and 
Lincoln was persuaded to pass privately and disguised 
on a special train from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, to 
Washington, where he arrived February 23rd, 1861. 
Before leaving Springfield, he addressed his friends at 
the moment of parting, at the railway station, in a 
speech of impressive simplicity. 



The Springfield Speech. 89 

"Friends, — No one who has never been placed in a Hke 
position can understand my feelings at this hour, nor the 
oppressive sadness I feel at this parting. For more than a 
quarter of a century I have lived among you, and during 
all that time I have received nothing but kindness at your 
hands. Here I have lived from youth until now I am an old 
man ; here the most sacred ties of earth were assumed ; 
here all my children were born, and here one of them lies 
buried. To you, dear friends, I owe all that I have, all that 
I am. All the strange, chequered past seems now to crowd 
upon my mind. To-day I leave you. I go to assume a 
task more difficult than that which devolved upon Washing- 
ton. Unless the great God who assisted him shall be with 
me and aid me, I must fail; but if the same omniscient 
mind and almighty arm that directed and protected him 
shall guide and support me, I shall not fail — I shall succeed. 
Let us all pray that the God of our fathers may not forsake 
us now. To Him I commend you all. Permit me to ask 
that with equal sincerity and faith you will invoke His 
wisdom and guidance for me. With these few words I 
must leave you, for how long I know not. Friends, one 
and all, I must now bid you an affectionate farewell." 

It may be observed that in this speech Lincoln, 
notwithstanding his conciliatory offers to the South, 
apprehended a terrible war, and that when speaking 
from the heart he showed himself a religious man. 
If he ever spoke in earnest it was on this occasion. 
One who had heard him a hundred timxs declared 
that he never saw him so profoundly affected, nor did 
he ever utter an address which seemed so full of 



90 Life of Abraham Lincoln, 

simple and touching eloquence as this. It left his 
audience deeply affected ; but the same people were 
more deeply moved at his return. " At eight o'clock," 
says Lamon,- " the train rolled out of Springfield amid 
the cheers of the populace. Four years later, a funeral 
train, covered with the emblems of splendid mourning, 
rolled into the same city, bearing a corpse, whose 
obsequies were being celebrated in every part of the 
civilised world." 

Lincoln made several speeches at different places 
along his route from Springfield to Philadelphia, and 
in all he freely discussed the difiiculties of the political 
crisis, expressing himself to the effect that there was 
really no danger or no crisis, since he was resolved, 
with all the Union-loving men of the North, to grant 
the South all its rights. But these addresses were not 
all sugar and rose-water. At Philadelphia he said — 

" Now, in my view of the present aspect of affairs, there 
need be no bloodshed or war. There is no necessity for it. 
I am not in favour of such a course; and I may say in 
advance, that there will be no blood shed, unless it be 
forced upon the Government, and then it will be compelled 
to act in self-defence." 

Lincoln had declared that the duties which would 
devolve upon him would be greater than those which 
had devolved upon any American since Washington. 
During this journey, the wisdom, firmness, and ready 
tact of his speeches already indicated that he would 



Popular Impressions of Lincoln, 91 

perform these duties of statesmanship in a masterly 
manner. He was received courteously by immense 
multitudes ; but at this time so very little was known 
of him beyond the fact that he was called Honest Old 
Abe the Rail-splitter, and that he had sprung from 
that most illiterate source, a poor Southern back- 
woods family, that even his political friends went to 
hear him with misgivings or with shame. There was 
a general impression that the Republican party had 
gained a victory by truckling to the mob, and by 
elevating one of its roughest types to leadership. 
And the gaunt, uncouth appearance of the President- 
elect fully confirmed this opinion. But when he 
spoke, it was as if a spell had been removed ; the 
disguise of Odin fell away, and people knew the 
Great Man, called to struggle with and conquer the 
rebellious giants — a hero coming with the right 
strength at the right time. 

It was at this time that the conspiracy, which had 
been preparing in earnest for thirty years, and which 
the North for as many years refused to suspect, had 
burst forth. South Carolina had declared that if 
Lincoln was elected she would secede, and on the 
17th December, i860, she did so, true to her word if 
not to her duty. In quick succession six States fol- 
lowed her, " there being little or no struggle, in those 
which lay upon the Gulf, against the wild tornado 
of excitement in favour of rebellion." '' In the Bor- 



92 Life of Abraham Lincoln, 

der States," says Arnold — " in Maryland, Virginia, 
North Carolina, Tennessee, and Missouri — there was, 
however, a terrible contest." The Union ultimately 
triumphed in Maryland, Kentucky, and Missouri, 
while the rebels carried Tennessee with great difficul- 
ty. Virginia seceded on April 17th, 1861, and North 
Carolina on the 20th of May. Everything had for 
years been made ready for them. President Buchanan, 
who preceded Lincoln — a man of feeble mind, and 
entirely devoted to the South — had either suffered the 
rebels to do all in their power to facilitate secession, 
or had directly aided them. The Secretary of War, 
John B. Floyd, who became a noted rebel, had for 
months been at work to paralyse the Northern army. 
He ordered 115,000 muskets to be made in Northern 
arsenals at the expense of the Federal Government, 
and sent them all to the South, with vast numbers of 
cannon, mortars, ammunition, and munitions of war. 
The army, reduced to 16,000 men, was sent to remote 
parts of the country, and as the great majority of its 
officers were Southern men, they of course resigned 
their commissions, and went over to the Southern 
Confederacy. Howell Cobb of Georgia, afterwards a 
rebel general, was Secretary of the Treasury, and, as 
his contribution to the Southern cause, did his utmost, 
and with great success, to cause ruin in his depart- 
ment, to injure the national credit, and empty the 
treasury. In fact, the whole Cabinet, with the supple 



Treason and Secession. 93 

President for a willing tool, were busy for months in 
doing all in their power to utterly break up the 
Government, to support which they had pledged their 
faith in God and their honour as gentlemen. Linked 
with them in disgrace were all those who, after uniting 
in holding an election for President, refused to abide 
by its results. On the 20th Nov., i860, the Attorney- 
General of the United States, Jer. S. Black, gave, as 
his aid to treason, the official opinion that " Congress 
had no right to carry on war against any State, 
either to prevent a threatened violation of the 
Constitution, or to enforce an acknowledgment that 
the Government of the United States was supreme;" 
and to use the words of Raymond, " it soon became 
evident that the President adopted this theory as the 
basis and guide of his executive action." 

On the night of January 5th, 1861, the leading 
conspirators, Jefferson Davis, with Senators Toombs, 
Iverson, Slidell, Benjamin, Wigfall, and others, held a 
meeting, at which it was resolved that the South 
should secede, but that all the seceding senators and 
representatives should retain their seats as long as 
possible, in order to inflict injury to the last on the 
Government which they had ofBcially pledged them- 
selves to protect. At the suggestion probably of Mr. 
Benjamin, all who retired were careful to draw not 
only their pay, but also to spoil the Egyptians by 
taking all the stationery, documents, and " mileage," 



94 Life of Abraham Lincoln, 

or allowance for travelling expenses, on which they 
could lay their hands. Only two of all the Slave 
State representatives remained true — Mr. Bouligny 
from New Orleans, and Andrew J. Hamilton from 
Texas. When President Lincoln came to Washington, 
it was indeed to enter a house divided against itself, 
tottering to its fall, its inner chambers a mass of ruin. 
The seven States which had seceded sent delegates, 
which met at Montgomery, Alabama, February 4th, 
1 86 1, and organised a government and constitution 
similar to that of the United States, under which 
Jefferson Davis was President, and Alexander H, 
Stephens Vice-President. No one had 'threatened 
the new Southern Government, and at this stage the 
North would have suffered it to withdraw in peace 
from the Union, so great was the dread of a civil 
war. But the South did not want peace. Every 
Southern newspaper, every rebel orator, was now 
furiously demanding of the North the most humiliat- 
ing concessions, and threatening bloodshed as the 
alternative. While President Lincoln, in his Inaugural 
Address, spoke with the most Christian forbearance 
of the South, Jefferson Davis, in his, assumed all the 
horrors of civil war as a foregone conclusion. He 
said, that if they were permitted to secede quietly, 
all would be well. If forced to fight, they could and 
would maintain their position by the sword, and 
would avail themselves to the utmost of the liberties 



Crossing Fox River. 95 

of war. He expected that the North would be the 
theatre of war, but no Northern city ever felt the rebel 
sword, while there was not one in the South which 
did not suffer terribly from the effects of war. Never 
in history was the awful curse Vcb victis so freely in- 
voked by those who were destined to be conquered. 
It was characteristic of Lincoln to illustrate his 
views on all subjects by anecdotes, which were so 
aptly put as to present in a few words the full force 
of his argument. Immediately after his election, 
when the world was vexed with the rumours of war, 
he was asked what he intended to do when he got 
to Washington ? " That," he replied, " puts me in 
mind of a little story. There was once a clergyman, 
who expected during the course of his next day's 
riding to cross the Fox River, at a time when the 
stream would be swollen by a spring freshet, making 
the passage extremely dangerous. On being asked 
by anxious friends if he was not afraid, and what he 
intended to do, the clergyman calmly replied, * I have 
travelled this country a great deal, and I can assure 
you that I have no intention of trying to cross Fox 
River until I get to it! " The dangers of the political 
river which Mr. Lincoln was to cross were very great. 
It is usual in England to regard the struggle of the 
North with the South during the Rebellion as that of 
a great power with a lesser one, and sympathy was in 
consequence given to the so-called weaker side. But 
the strictest truth shows that the Union party, what 



g6 Life of Abraham Lincoln, 

with the Copperheads, or sympathisers with the 
South, at home, and with open foes in the field, 
was never at any time much more than equal to 
either branch of the enemy, and that, far from 
being the strongest in numbers, it was as one to 
two. Those in its ranks who secretly aided the 
enemy were numerous and powerful. The Union 
armies were sometimes led by generals whose hearts 
were with the foe ; and for months after the war 
broke out, the entire telegraph service of the Union 
was, owing to the treachery of officials, entirely at the 
service of the Confederates. 

It must be fairly admitted, and distinctly borne in 
mind, that the South had at least good apparent 
reason for believing that the North would yield to 
any demands, and was so corrupt that it would 
crumble at a touch into numberless petty, warring 
States, while the Confederacy, firm and united, would 
eventually master them all, and rule the Continent. 
For years, leaders like President Buchanan had been 
their most submissive tools ; and the number of men 
in the North who were willing to grant them every- 
thing very nearly equalled that of the Republican 
party. From the beginning they were assured by the 
press and leaders of the Democrats, or Copperheads, 
that they would soon conquer, and receive material 
aid from Northern sympathisers. And there were 
in all the Northern cities many of these, who were 



Enemies at Home, 97 

eagerly awaiting a breaking-up of the Union, in order 
that they might profit by its ruin. Thus, immediately 
after the secession of South Carolina, Fernando 
Wood, Mayor of New York, issued a proclamation, 
in which he recommended that it should secede, 
and become a " free city." All over the country, 
Democrats like Wood were looking forward to 
revolutions in which something might be picked up, 
and not a few really spoke of the revival of titles of 
nobility. All of these prospective governors of lordly 
Baratarias avowed sympathy with the South. It was 
chiefly by reliance on these Northern sympathisers 
that the Confederacy was led to its ruin. President 
Lincoln found himself in command of a beleagured 
fortress which had been systematically stripped and 
injured by his predecessor, a powerful foe storming 
without, and nearly half his men doing their utmost 
to aid the enemy from within. 

On the 4th March, 1861, Lincoln took the oath 
to fulfil his duties as President, and delivered his 
inaugural address. In this he began by asserting that 
he had no intention of interfering with slavery as it 
existed, or of interfering in any way with the rights 
of the South, and urged that, by law, fugitive slaves 
must be restored to their owners. In reference to 
the efforts being made to break up the Union, he 
maintained that, by universal law and by the Con- 
stitution, the union of the States must be perpetual. 



98 Life of Abraham Lincoln, 

" It is safe to assert," he declared, " that no govern- 
ment proper ever had a provision in its organic law 
for its own termination." With great wisdom, and 
in the most temperate language, he pointed out the 
impossibility of 2.x\y government, in the true sense of 
the word, being liable to dissolution because a party- 
wished it. One party to a contract may violate or 
break it, but it requires all to lawfully rescind it. 

" I therefore consider that, in view of the Constitution 
and the laws, the Union is unbroken ; and to the extent of 
my ability, I shall take care, as the Constitution itself 
expressly enjoins upon me, that the laws of the Union be 
faithfully executed in all the States. Doing this I deem to 
be only a simple duty on my part; and I shall perform it 
as far as practicable, unless my rightful masters, the 
American people, shall withhold the requisite means, or in 
some authoritative manner direct the contrary." 

He asserted that the power confided to him 
would be used to hold and possess all Govern- 
ment property and collect duties ; but went so 
far in conciliation as to declare, that wherever 
hostility to the United States should be so great and 
universal as to prevent competent resident citizens 
from holding the Federal offices, there would be no 
attempt to force obnoxious strangers among the 
people for that object. Where the enforcement of 
such matters, though legally right, might be irritating 
and nearly impracticable, he would deem it better to 



His Inaugural Address, 99 

forego for a time the uses of such offices. He pointed 
out that the principle of secession was simply that 
of anarchy ; that to admit the claim of a minority 
would be to destroy any government ; while he 
indicated with great intelligence the precise limits 
of the functions of the Supreme Court. And he 
briefly explained the impossibility of a divided Union 
existing, save in a jarring and ruinous manner. 
" Physically speaking," he said, " we cannot separate. 
We cannot remove our respective sections from each 
other, nor build an impassable wall between them. A 
husband and wife may be divorced, and go out of the 
presence and beyond the reach of each other, but the 
different parts of our country cannot do this. They 
cannot but remain face to face; and intercourse either 
amicable or hostile must continue between them. Why 
should there not be," he added, " a patient confidence 
in the ultimate justice of the people } Is there any 
better or equal hope in the world t In our present 
differences, is either party without faith of being in 
the right } If the Mighty Ruler of Nations, with His 
eternal truth and justice, be on your side of the 
North, or on yours of the South, that truth and 
that justice will surely prevail by the judgment of 
this great tribunal of the American people." 

It has been well said that this address was the 
wisest utterance of the time. Yet it was, with all 
its gentle and conciliatory feelingsr-at once misrepre- 

660126 



loo Life of Abi^ahmn Lincoln. 

sented through the South as a malignant and tyran- 
nical threat of war; for to such a pitch of irritability 
and arrogance had the entire Southern party been 
raised, that any words from a Northern ruler, not 
expressive of the utmost devotion to their interests, 
seemed literally like insult. It was not enough to 
promise them to be bound by law, when they held 
that the only law should be their own will. 

To those who lived through the dark and dreadful 
days which preceded the outburst of the war, every 
memory is like that of one who has passed through the 
valley of the shadow of death. It was known that the 
enemy was coming from abroad ; yet there were few 
who could really regard him as an enemy, for it was 
as when a brother advances to slay a brother, and the 
victim, not believing in the threat, rises to throw 
himself into the murderer's arms. And vigorous 
defence was further paralysed by the feeling that 
traitors were everywhere at work — in the army, in 
the Cabinet, in the family circle. 

President Lincoln proceeded at once to form his 
Cabinet. It consisted of William H. Seward — who had 
been his most formidable competitor at the Chicago 
Convention — who became Secretary of State ; Simon 
Cameron — whose appointment proved as discreditable 
to Mr. Lincoln as to the country — as Secretary of 
War ; Salmon P. Chase, Secretary of the Treasury ; 
Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy; Caleb B. 



Days of Doubt. loi 

Smith, Secretary of the Interior ; Montgomery Blair, 
Postmaster-General ; and Edward Bates, Attorney- 
General. It was well for the President that these 
were all, except Cameron, wise and honest men, for 
the situation of the country was one of doubt, danger, 
and disorganisation. In Congress, in every drawing- 
room, there were people who boldly asserted and 
believed in the words of a rebel, expressed to B. F. 
Butler — that "the North could not fight; that the 
South had too ,many allies there." "You have 
friends," said Butler, "in the North who will stand 
by you as long as you fight your battles in the 
Union ; but the moment you fire on the flag, the 
Northern people will be a unit against you. And 
you may be assured, if war comes, slavery ends" 
Orators and editors in the North proclaimed, in the 
boldest manner, that the Union must go to fragments 
and ruin, and that the only hope of safety lay in 
suffering the South to take the lead, and in humbly 
following her. The number of these despairing 
people — or Croakers, as they were called — was very 
great ; they believed that Republicanism had proved 
itself a failure, and that on slavery alone could a firm 
government be based. Open treason was unpunished ; 
it was boldly said that Southern armies would soon 
be on Northern soil ; the New Administration seemed 
to be without a basis ; in those days, no men except 
rebels seemed to know what to do. 



CHAPTER VII. 

Mr. Seward refuses to meet the Rebel Commissioners — Lincoln's Forbear- 
ance — Fort Sumter— Call for 75,000 Troops — Troubles in Maryland- 
Administrative Prudence — Judge Douglas — Increase of the Army— 
Winthrop and Ellsworth — Bull Run — General M'Clellan. 

IT was on the I2th of March, 1861, that the rebel 
or Confederate States sent Commissioners to the 
United States to adjust matters in reference to 
secession. Mr. Seward refused to receive them, on 
the ground that they had not withdrawn from the 
Union, and were unable to do so unless it were by 
the authority of a National Convention acting accord- 
ing to the Constitution of the United States. On 
the 9th of April the Commissioners left, declaring 
in a letter that " they accepted the gage of battle." 
As yet there was no decided policy in the North, 
and prominent Democrats like Douglas were not in 
favour of compelling the seceding States to remain, 
Mr. Everett was preaching love, forgiveness, and 
union, while the Confederate Government was seizing 
on " all the arsenals, forts, custom-houses, post-offices, 
ships, ordnance, and material of war belonging to 
the United States, within the seceding States." In 
fact, the South knew exactly what it meant to do, 



His Wise Forbearance, 103 

and was doing it vigorously, while the North was 
entirely undecided. In the spring of 1861, Congress 
had adjourned without making any preparation for 
the tremendous and imminent crisis. 

But the entire South had not as yet seceded. The 
Border States were not in favour of war. In the 
words of Arnold, "to arouse sectional feeling and 
prejudice, and secure co-operation and unanimity, it 
was deemed necessary to precipitate measures and 
bring on a conflict of arms." It -was generally felt 
that the first blood shed would bring all the Slave 
States into union. The anti-war party was so 
powerful in the North, that it now appears almost 
certain that, if President Lincoln had proceeded at 
once to put down the rebellion with a strong hand, 
there would have been a counter-rebellion in the 
North. For not doing this he was bitterly blamed, 
but time has justified him. By his forbearance, 
Maryland, Kentucky, and Missouri were undoubtedly 
kept in the Federal Union. His wisdom was also 
shown in two other respects, as soon as it was 
possible to do so. There had existed for years in 
New York an immense slave-trading business, headed 
by a Spaniard named Juarez. Vessels were bought 
almost openly, and Government officials were bribed 
to let these pirates loose. This infamous traffic was 
very soon brought to an end, so far as the United 
States were concerned. Another task, which was 



104 ^if^ Pf Abraham Lincoln. 

rapidly and well performed, was the " sifting out " of 
rebels, or rebel sympathisers, from Government offices, 
where they abounded and acted as spies. Even 
General Scott, an old man full of honour, who was 
at the head of the army, though true to the Union, 
was Southern by sympathy and opposed to coercion, 
and most of the officers of the army were like him 
in this respect. 

The refusal of Mr. Seward to treat with the 
rebel government was promptly made the occasion 
for the act of violence which was to unite the 
Confederacy. There was, near Charleston, South 
Carolina, a fort called Sumter, held for the United 
States by Major Robert Anderson, a brave and loyal 
man. On the nth of April, 1861, he was summoned 
to surrender the fort to the Confederate Government, 
which he refused to do. As he was, however, without 
provisions, it was eventually agreed, on the 12th 
April, that he should leave the fort by noon on the 
15th. But the rebels, in their impatience, could not 
wait, and they informed him that, unless he surren- 
dered within one hour, the fort would be bombarded. 
This was done, and, after a bombardment of thirty- 
three hours, bravely borne, the Major and his band 
of seventy men were obliged to surrender. 

It is true that this first firing on the American flag 
acted like the tap of the drum, calling all the South 
to arms in a frenzy, and sweeping away all the 



The Fall of Sumter, 105 

remnants of attachment to the old Union lingering 
in it. The utmost hopes of the rebel leaders were 
for the time fully realised. But the North was, to 
their amazement, not paralysed or struck down, nor 
did the Democratic sympathisers with the South 
arise and crush " Lincoln and his minions." On the 
contrary, the news of the fall of Sumter was " a live 
coal on the heart cf the American people ;" and such 
a tempest of rage swept in a day over millions, as 
had never before been witnessed in America. Those 
who can recall the day on which the news of the 
insult to the flag was received, and how it was 
received, have the memory of the greatest conceivable 
outburst of patriotic passion. For a time, all party 
feelings were forgotten ; there was no more thought 
of forgiveness, or suffering secession ; the whole 
people rose up and cried out for war. 

Hitherto, the press had railed at Lincoln for 
wanting a policy ; and yet if he had made one step 
towards suppressing the rebels, " a thousand Northern 
newspapers would have pounced upon him as one 
provoking war." Now, however, his policy was 
formed, shaped, and made glowing hot by one 
terrible blow. On April 15th, 1 861, he issued a pro- 
clamation, announcing that, as the laws of the United 
States were being opposed, and the execution thereof 
obstructed in South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, 
Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas, by com- 



io6 Life of Abrahmn Lincoln, 

binations too powerful to be suppressed by the 
ordinary course of judicial proceedings, he, the Pre- 
sident of the United States, called forth the militia 
of the several States of the Union, to the aggregate 
number of 75,000, in order to suppress said combina- 
tions, and to cause the laws to be duly executed. 
In strong contrast to the threats of general slaughter, 
and conflagration of Northern cities, so freely thrown 
out by Jefferson Davis, President Lincoln declared 
that, while the duty of these troops would be to 
repossess the forts and property taken from the 
Union, "in every event the utmost care will be 
observed, consistently with the objects aforesaid, to 
avoid any devastation, any destruction of or inter- 
ference with property, or any disturbance of peaceful 
citizens, in any part of the country." He also sum- 
moned an extraordinary session of Congress to 
assemble on the 4th of July, 186 1. 

This proclamation awoke intense enthusiasm, "and 
from private persons, as well as by the Legislature, 
men, arms, and money were offered in unstinted 
profusion in support of the Government. Massa- 
chusetts was first in the field ; and on the first day 
after the issue of the proclamation, the 6th Regiment 
started from Boston for the national capital. Two 
more regiments departed within forty-eight hours. 
The 6th Regiment, on its way to Washington, on 
the 19th April, was attacked by a mob in Baltimore, 



Governor Hicks of Maryland, 107 

carrying a secession flag, and several of its members 
were killed." This inflamed to a higher point the 
entire North ; and Governor Hicks, of Maryland^ and 
Mayor Brown, of Baltimore, urged it on President 
Lincoln that, " for prudential reasons," no more troops 
should be sent through Baltimore. This Governor 
Hicks had, during the previous November, written 
a letter, in which he regretted that his state could 
not supply the rebel states with arms more rapidly, 
and expressed the hope that those who were to bear 
them would be "good men to kill Lincoln and his 
men." But by adroitly shifting to the wind, he 
" became conspicuously loyal before spring, and lived 
to reap splendid rewards and high honours under 
the auspices of the Federal Government, as the most 
patriotic and devoted Union-man in Maryland." 
Yet as one renegade is said to be more zealous than 
ten Turks, it cannot be denied that, after Governor 
Hicks became a Union-man, he worked bravely, and 
his efficiency in preserving Maryland from seceding 
was only inferior to that of the able Henry Winter 
Davis. This Governor Hicks had suggested to Pre- 
sident Lincoln that the controversy between North 
and South might be referred to Lord Lyons, the 
British Minister, for arbitration. To these requests 
the President replied, through Mr. Seward, that as 
General Scott deemed it advisable, and as the chief 
object in bringing troops was the defence of Washing- 



io8 Life of Ab7'aham Lincoln, 

ton, he made no point of bringing them through 
Baltimore. But he concluded with these words — 

*'The President cannot but remember that there has 
been a time in the history of our country when a General 
of the American Union, with forces destined for the defence 
of its capital, was not unwelcome anywhere in the State of 
Maryland. 

*' If eighty years could have obliterated all the other 
noble sentiments of that age in Maryland, the President 
would be hopeful, nevertheless, that there is one that would 
for ever remain there and everywhere. That sentiment is, 
that no domestic contention whatever that may arise among 
the parties of this republic ought in any case to be referred 
to any foreign arbitrament, least of all to the arbitrament 
of a European monarchy." 

It is certain that by this humane and wise policy, 
which many attributed to cowardice, President 
Lincoln not only prevented much bloodshed and 
devastation, but also preserved the State of Maryland. 
In such a crisis harshly aggressive measures in Mary- 
land would have irritated millions on the border, and 
perhaps have promptly brought the war further 
north. As it was, peace and order were soon restored 
in Baltimore, when the regular use of the highway 
through that city was resumed. 

On the 19th April, 1861, the President issued 
another proclamation, declaring the blockade of the 
ports of the seceding states. This was virtually an 



Davis 's Threats. 109 

answer to one from Jefferson Davis, offering letters 
of marque to all persons who might desire to aid 
the rebel government, and enrich themselves, by- 
depredations upon the rich and extended commerce 
of the United States. It may be remarked that the 
first official words of Jefferson Davis were singularly 
ferocious, threatening fire, brigandage, and piracy, 
disguised as privateering, in all their terrors; while his 
last act as President was to run away, disguised as an 
old woman, in his wife's waterproof cloak, and carrying 
a bucket of water — thus typifying in his own person 
the history of the rebellion from its fierce beginning 
to its ignominious end. 

It may be doubted if there was in those wild days 
in all North America one man who to such wise 
forbearance added such firmness and moral courage 
as President Lincoln manifested. By it he preserved 
Maryland, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Missouri, and, 
if moderation could have availed, he might have kept 
Virginia. Strange as it seems, while the seceding 
states were threatening officially, and hastening to 
carry out, all the outrages of war, the Legislature 
of Virginia resolved that President Lincoln's mild 
message announced a policy of tyranny and "coercion;" 
and, in spite of the gentlest letter of explanation ever 
written by any ruler who was not a coward, the state 
marched out of the Union with drums beating and 
flags flying. "Thenceforth," says Holland, "Virginia 



no Life of Abraham Lincoln. 

went straight towards desolation. Its * sacred soil' 
was from that hour devoted to trenches, fortifications, 
battle-fields, military roads, camps, and graves." She 
firmly believed that all the fighting would be done 
on Northern soil ; but in another year, over a large 
part of her territory, which had been covered with 
fertile farms and pleasant villages, there were roads 
five miles wide. 

At this time, there occurred an interesting private 
incident in Lincoln's life. His old adversary, Judge 
Douglas, whom he warmly respected as a brave 
adversary, had passed his life in pandering to slavery, 
and, as regards the war, had been the political 
Mephistopheles who had made all the mischief. But 
when Sumter was fired on, all that was good and 
manly in his nature was aroused, and he gave all 
his support to his old enemy. " During the brief 
remainder of his life, his devotion to the cause of his 
country was unwearied. He was done with his 
dreams of power," but he could yet do good. He 
was of service in inducing great numbers of Demo- 
crats, who still remained pro-slavery men in principle, 
to fight for the Union. 

Four years to an hour after the memorable recon- 
ciliation between Judge Douglas and President 
Lincoln, the latter was killed by the rebel Booth. 
"Both died," says Holland, "with a common purpose 
— one in the threatening morning of the rebellion, 



Progress of the Rebellion, in 

the other when its sun had just set in blood ; and 
both sleep in the dust of that magnificent state, 
ahnost every rod of which, within a quarter of a 
century, had echoed to their contending voices, as 
they expounded their principles to the people." 

Judge Douglas had warned the President, in 
the hour of their reconciliation, that, instead of 
calling on the country for 75,000 men, he should 
have asked for 200,000. "You do not know the 
dishonest purposes of those men as I do," he had 
impressively remarked. In a few days, it was evident 
that the rebellion was assuming colossal proportions, 
and therefore President Lincoln, on May 3rd, issued 
another call for 42,000 three-year volunteers, and 
ordered the addition of 22,114 officers and men to 
the regular army, and 18,000 seamen to the navy. 
This demand was promptly responded to, for the 
draft had as yet no terrors. On the i8th of April, 
a plot had been discovered by which the secessionists 
in Washington, aided by Virginia, hoped to fire the 
city, seize the President and Cabinet, and all the 
machinery of government. By prompt action, this 
plan was crushed. A part of it was to burn the 
railway bridges, and make the roads impassable, and 
this was successfully executed. Yet, in the face of 
this audacious attack, the Democratic press of the 
North and the rebel organs of the South continued 
to storm at the President for irritating the seces- 



112 Life of Abraham Lincoln. 

sionists, declaring that "coercion" or resistance of 
the Federal Government to single states was illegal. 
But at this time several events occurred which 
caused great anger among loyal men : one was 
the loss of the great national armoury at Harper's 
Ferry, and also of Gosport Navy Yard, with 
2000 cannon and several large ships. Owing to 
treachery, this navy yard, with about 10,000,000 
dollars' worth of property, was lost. Another incident 
was the death of Colonel Ellsworth. This young 
man, who had been a law student under Mr. Lincoln, 
was the introducer of the Zouave drill. For many 
weeks, a rebel tavern-keeper in Alexandria, in sight 
of Washington, had insulted the Government by 
keeping a secession flag flying. On the 24th May, 
when General Mansfield advanced into Virginia, 
Ellsworth was sent with 13,000 troops to Alexandria, 
Here his first act was to pull down the rebel flag. 
On descending, Jackson shot him dead, and was 
himself promptly shot by private Brownell. Two 
days previous, the first considerable engagement of 
the war had occurred at Big Bethel, and here Major 
Winthrop, a young Massachusetts gentleman of great 
bravery and distinguished literary talentj was killed. 
The grief which the deaths of these well-known 
young men excited was very great. They were 
among the first victims, and their names remain to 
this day fresh in the minds of all who were in the 



Organisation of the War. 113 

North during the war. The funeral of Ellsworth 
took place from the White House, Mr. Lincoln — who 
was affected with peculiar sorrow by his death — being 
chief mourner. 

During this month the war was, to a degree, 
organised. As soon as Washington was made safe, 
Fortress Monroe, the "water-gateway" of Virginia, 
was reinforced. Cairo, Illinois, commanding the 
junction of the Mississippi and Ohio rivers, was 
occupied, and Virginia and North Carolina were 
efficiently blockaded. Pennsylvania, Delaware, Mary- 
land, the District of Columbia, and a part of Virginia, 
were divided into three military departments, and on 
the loth May another was formed, including the 
States of Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, under charge 
of General Geo. B. M'Clellan. The object of this 
department was to maintain a defensive line on the 
Ohio River from Wheeling to Cairo. 

In the month of July, 1861, the rebels, commanded 
by General Beauregard, threatened Washington, being 
placed along Bull Run Creek, their right resting on 
Manassas, and their left, under General Johnston, on 
Winchester. They numbered about 35,000. It was 
determined to attack this force, and drive it from 
the vicinity of Washington. Both sides intended this 
to b^ a great decisive battle, and it was generally 
believed in the North that it would end the war. 
Government had been supplied with men and money 



114 Life of Abraham Lincoln. 

beyond its demands, and the people, encouraged by 
Mr. Seward's opinion that the war would last only 
sixty days, were as impatient now to end the rebellion 
by force as they had been previously to smother it 
by concessions. There were few who predicted as 
Charles A. Dana did to the writer, on the day that 
war was declared — that it would last " not less than 
three, nor more than six or seven years." On 
the 1 6th July, the Federal army, commanded by 
General M'Dowell, marched forth, and the attack, 
which was at first successful, was made on the 2 1st. 
But the reinforcements which Johnston received saved 
him, and a sudden panic sprung up among the 
Federal troops, which resulted in a headlong retreat, 
with 480 killed and 1000 wounded. The army was 
utterly beaten, and it was only the Confederates' 
ignorance of the extent of their own success which 
saved Washington. It was the darkest day ever 
witnessed in the North, when the telegraph announced 
the shameful defeat of the great army of the Union. 
Everyone had anticipated a brilliant victory ; but yet 
the news discouraged no one. The writer that day 
observed closely the behaviour of hundreds of men 
as they came up to the bulletin-board of the New 
York Times^ and can testify that, after a blank look 
of grief and amazement, they invariably spoke to this 
effect, " It's bad luck, but we must try it again." 
The effect, in the words of Raymond, was to rouse 



War begins in Earnest, 115 

still higher the courage and determination of the 
people. In twenty-four hours, the whole country was 
again fierce and fresh for war. Volunteers streamed 
by thousands into the army, and efforts were promptly 
made to establish Union forces at different places 
around the rebel coast. This was the beginning of 
the famous Anaconda, whose folds never relaxed 
until they strangled the rebellion. Between the 28th 
August and the 3rd of December, Fort Hatteras, 
Port Royal in South Carolina, and Ship Island, near 
New Orleans, were occupied. Preparations were 
made to seize on New Orleans ; and, by a series of 
masterly movements. West Virginia, Kentucky, and 
Missouri, which had been in a painful state of conflict, 
were secured to the Union. Virginia proper had 
seceded with a flourish of States Rights. Her Western 
portion recognised the doctrine so far as to claim its 
right to leave the mother-state and return to the 
Union. This was not done without vigorous fighting 
by Generals Rosencranz and Morris, to whom the 
credit of both organising and acting is principally 
due, although General M'Clellan, by a clever and 
Napoleonic despatch, announcing victory, attracted to 
himself the chief glory. General M'Clellan had pre- 
viously, in Kentucky, favoured the recognition of that 
state as neutral territory, as the rebels wished him to 
do — an attempt which Lincoln declared "would be 
disunion completed, if once entertained." On the 



ii6 Life of Abraham Lincoln, 

1st Nov., 1861, General Scott, who had hitherto 
commanded the armies of the Union, asked for and 
obtained his discharge, and was succeeded by General 
M'Clellan. "If," as Holland remarks, "he had done but 
little before to merit this confidence, if he did but little 
afterwards to justify it, he at least served at that time 
to give faith to the people." For three months he 
organised and supervised his troops with the talent 
which was peculiar to him — that of preparing great 
work for greater minds to finish. His photograph 
was in every album, and on every side were heard 
predictions that he would be * the Napoleon, the 
Caesar, the Autocrat of all the Americas. The 
Western Continent would be, after all, the greatest 
country in the world, and the greatest man in it 
was to be " Little Mac." He was not as yet known 
by his great botanical nom de guerre of the Virginian 
Creeper, 



CHAPTER VIII. 

Relations with Europe — Foreign Views of the War— The Slaves— Pro- 
clamation of Emancipation — Arrest of Rebel Commissioners — Black 
Troops. 

WITH so much to call for his care in the field, 
President Lincoln was not less busy in the 
Cabinet. The relations of the Federal Government 
with Europe were of great importance. " The rebels," 
says Arnold, with truth, "had a positive, vigorous 
organisation, with agents all over Europe, many of 
them in the diplomatic service of the United States." 
They were well selected, and they were successful in 
creating the impression that the Confederacy was 
eminently "a gentleman's government" — that the 
Federal represented an agrarian mob led by dema- 
gogues — that Mr. Lincoln was a vulgar, ignorant 
boor — and that the war itself was simply an uncon- 
stitutional attempt to force certain states to remain 
under a tyrannical and repulsive rule. The great 
fact that the South had, in the most public manner, 
proclaimed that it seceded because the North would 
7iot permit tJie further extension of slaveiy y v^diS utterly 
ignored ; and the active interference of the North 



ii8 Life of Abraham Lincoln. 

with slavery was ostentatiously urged as a grievance, 
though, by a strange inconsistency, it was deemed 
expedient by many foreign anti-slavery men to with- 
draw all sympathy for the Federal cause, on the 
ground that its leaders manifested no eagerness to set 
the slaves free until it became a matter of military 
expediency. Thus the humane wisdom and modera- 
tion, which inspired Lincoln and the true men of the 
Union to overcome the dreadful obstacles which 
existed in the opposition of the Northern democrats 
to Emancipation, was most sophistically and cruelly 
turned against them. To a more cynical class, the 
war was but the cleaning by fire of a filthy chimney 
which should have been burnt out long before, and 
its Iliad in a nutshell amounted to a squabble which 
concerned nobody save as a matter for amusement. 
And there were, finally, not a few — to judge 
from the frank avowal of a journal of the 
highest class — who looked forward with joy to the 
breaking up of the American Union, because "their 
sympathies were with men, not with monsters, and 
Russia and the United States are simply giants 
among nations." All this bore, in due time, its 
natural fruit. Whether people were to blame for 
this want of sympathy, considering the ingenuity 
with which Southern agents fulfilled their missions, 
is another matter. Time, which is, happily, every 
day modifying old feelings, cannot change truths. 



Foreign Recognition of the Confederacy, 119 

And it cannot be denied that hostilities had hardly 
begun, and that only half the Slave States were in 
insurrection, when the English and French Govern- 
ments, acting in concert, recognised the government 
at Montgomery as an established belligerent power. 
As to this recognition, Mr. Charles F. Adams, the 
United States Minister to England, was instructed 
by Mr. Seward to the effect that it, if carried out, 
must at once suspend all friendly relations between 
the United States and England. When, on June 
15th, the English and French ministers applied to 
Mr. Seward for leave to communicate to him their 
instructions, directing them to recognise the rebels 
as belligerents, he declined to listen to them. The 
United States, accordingly, persisted until the end 
in regarding the rebellion as a domestic difficulty, 
and one with which foreign governments had no 
right to interfere. At the present day, it appears 
most remarkable that the two great sources of 
encouragement held out to the rebels — of help from 
Northern sympathisers, and the hope of full recogni- 
tion by European powers — proved in the end to be 
allurements which led them on to ruin. Had it not 
been for the defeat at Bull Run, slavery would 
perhaps have still existed ; and but for the hope of 
foreign aid, the South would never have been so 
utterly conquered and thoroughly exhausted as it 
was. It must, however, be admitted that the irritation 



I20 Life of Abraham Lincoln, 

of the Union-men of the North against England at 
this crisis was carried much too far, since they did^ 
not take fully into consideration the very large 
number of their sincere friends in Great Britain who 
earnestly advocated their cause, and that among these 
were actually the majority of the journalists. To 
those who did not understand American politics in 
detail, the spectacle of about one-third of the popula- 
tion, even though backed by constitutional law, 
opposing the majority, seemed to call for little 
sympathy. And if the motto of Emancipation for 
the sake of the white man offended the American 
Abolitionists, who were unable to see that it was a 
ruse de guerre in their favour, it is not remarkable 
that the English Abolitionists should have been 
equally obtuse. 

A much more serious trouble than that of European 
indifference soon arose in the negro question. There 
were in the rebel states nearly 4,000,000 slaves. In 
Mr. Lincoln's party, the Republican, were two classes 
of men — the Abolitionists, who advocated immediate 
enfranchisement of all slaves by any means ; and the 
much larger number of men who, while they were 
opposed to the extension of slavery, and would have 
liked to see it legally abolished, still remembered that 
it was constitutional. Slave property had become 
such a sacred thing, and had been legislated about 
and quarrelled over to such an extent, that, even 



Ftcgitive Slaves, 121 

among slavery-haters, it was a proof of honest citizen- 
ship to recognise it. Thus, for a long time after the 
war had begun. General M'Clellan, and many other 
officers like him, made it a point of returning fugitive 
slaves to their rebel masters. These slaves believed 
"the Yankees" had come to deliver them from 
bondage. " They were ready to act as guides, to 
dig, to work, to fight for liberty," and they were 
welcomed, on coming to help their country in its 
need, by being handed back to the enemy to be 
tortured or put to death. So great were the atroci- 
ties perpetrated in this way, and so much did certain 
Federal officers disgrace themselves by hunting 
negroes and truckling to the enemy, that a bill was 
soon passed in Congress, declaring it was no part 
of the duty of the soldiers of the United States to 
capture and return fugitive slaves. About the same 
time. General B. F. Butler, of the Federal forces, 
shrewdly declared that slaves were legally property, 
but that, as they were employed by their masters 
against the Government, they might be seized as 
contraband of war, which was accordingly done ; nor 
is it recorded that any of the slaves who were by 
this ingenious application of law confined within the 
limits of freedom ever found any fault with it. From 
this time, during the war, slaves became popularly 
known as contrabands. 

It should be distinctly understood that there were 



122 Life of Abraham Lincoln, 

now literally millions of staunch Union people, who, 
while recognising the evils of slavery, would not be 
called Abolitionists, because slavery was as yet legale 
and according to that constitution which they 
properly regarded as the very life of all for which 
were fighting. And they would not, for the sake 
of renaoving the sufferings bf the blacks, bring greater 
misery on the whites. Badly as the South had 
behaved, it was still loved, and it was felt that 
Abolition would bring ruin on many friends. But 
as the war went on, and black crape began to appear 
on Northern bell-handles, people began to ask one 
another whether it was worth while to do so much 
to uphold slavery, even to conciliate the wavering 
Border States. Step by step, arguments were found 
for the willing at heart but unwilling to act. On the 
1st January, 1862, the writer established in Boston a 
political magazine, called "The Continental Monthly," 
the entire object of which was expressed in the 
phrase, Emancipation for the sake of the white many 
and which was published solely for the sake of pre- 
paring the public mind for, and aiding in, Mr. 
Lincoln's peculiar policy with regard to slavery. As 
the writer received encouragement and direction from 
the President and more than one member of the 
Cabinet, but especially from Mr. Seward, he feels 
authorised, after the lapse of so many years, to speak 
freely on the subject. He had already, for several 



Progress of Ema7ic2patio7i. 123 

months, urged the same principles in another and 
older publication (the New York " Knickerbocker"). 
The "Continental" was quite as bitterly attacked by 
the anti-slavery press as by the pro-slavery; but it 
effected its purpose of aiding President Lincoln, and the 
editor soon had the pleasure of realising that many 
thousands were willing to be called Emancipationists 
who shrunk from being classed as Abolitionists. 

In this great matter, the President moved with a 
caution which cannot be too highly commended. 
He felt and knew that the emancipation of the 
slaves was a great and glorious thing, not to be 
frittered away by the action of this or that sub- 
ordinate, leaving details of its existence in every 
direction to call for infinite legislation. It is true 
that for a time he temporised with " colonisation ;" 
and Congress passed a resolution that the United 
States ought to co-operate with any state which 
might adopt a gradual emancipation of slavery, 
placing 600,000 dollars at the disposition of the 
President for an experiment at colonisation. Some 
money was indeed spent in attempts to colonise 
slaves in Hayti, when the project was abandoned. 
But this was really delaying to achieve a definite 
purpose. On August 22nd, 1862, in reply to Horace 
Greeley, Mr. Lincoln wrote : — 

"My paramount object is to save the Union, and not to 
either save or destroy slavery. If I could save the Union 



124 Life of Abraham Lincoln. 

without freeing any slave, I would do it ; if I could save it 
by freeing all the slaves, I would do it ; and if I could do it 
by freeing some and leaving others alone, I would also do 
that. ... I have here stated my purpose according to my 
views of official duty, and I intend no modification of my oft- 
expressed personal wish^ that all men everywhere could be free." 

He had, meanwhile, his troubles with the army. 
On May 9th, 1862, General Hunter issued an order, 
declaring the slaves in Georgia, Florida, and South 
Carolina to be for ever free ; which was promptly and 
properly repudiated by the President, who was at the 
time urging on Congress and the Border States a 
policy of gradual emancipation, with compensation 
to loyal masters. General Hunter's attempt at 
such a crisis to take the matter out of the hands of 
the President, was a piece of presumption which 
deserved severer rebuke than he received in the firm 
yet mild proclamation in which Lincoln, uttering no 
reproof, said to the General — quoting from his 
Message to Congress — 

"I beg of you a calm and enlarged consideration of the 
signs of the times, ranging, if it may be, far above partisan 
and personal politics. 

"This proposal makes common cause for a common 
object, casting no reproaches upon any. It acts not the 
Pharisee. The change it contemplates would come gently 
as the dews of heaven, not rending or wrecking anything. 
Will you not embrace it?" 

General J. C. Fremont, commanding the Western 



The Proclarnation of Emancipation. 125 

Department, which comprised Missouri and a part 
of Kentucky, had also issued an unauthorised order 
(August 31st, 1 861), proclaiming martial law in Mis- 
souri, and setting the slaves, if rebels, free ; which 
error the President at once corrected. This was 
taken off by a popular caricature, in which slavery 
was represented as a blackbird in a cage, and General 
Fremont as a small boy trying to let him out, while 
Lincoln, as a larger boy, was saying, " That's my bird 
— let him alone." To which General Fremont 
replying, " But you said you wanted him to be set 
free," the President answers, " I know ; but Fm going 
to let him out — not you." 

To a deputation from all the religious denomina- 
tions in Chicago, urging immediate emancipation, 
the President replied, setting forth the present inex- 
pediency of such a measure. But, meanwhile, he 
prepared a declaration that, on January ist, 1863, 
the slaves in all states, or parts of states, which 
should then be in rebellion, would be proclaimed free. 
By the advice of Mr. Seward, this was withheld until 
it could follow a Federal victory, instead of seeming 
to be a measure of mere desperation. Accordingly, 
it was put forth — September 22nd, 1862 — five days 
after the battle of Antietam had defeated Lee's first 
attempt at invading the North, and the promised 
proclamation was published on the ist January fol- 
lowing. The text of this document was as follows :— 



126 Life of Abraham Lincoln. 

By the President of the United States of America. 

^ }Pr0cIamation. 

Whereas, on the twenty-second day of September, in the year 
of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-two, a pro- 
clamation was issued by the President of the United States, 
containing, among other things, the following, to wit : — 

That, on the first day of January, in the year of our 
Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, all 
persons held as slaves within any state, or designated part 
of a state, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion 
against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward and 
for ever, free; and the Executive Government of the United 
States, including the naval and military authority thereof, will 
recognise and maintain the freedom of such persons, and will 
do no act or acts to repress such persons, or any of them, 
in any efforts they may make for their actual freedom. 

That the Executive will, on the first day of January 
aforesaid, by proclamation, designate the states and parts 
of states, if any, in which the people thereof, respectively, 
shall then be in rebellion against the United States ; and 
the fact that any state, or the people thereof, shall on that 
day be in good faith represented in the Congress of the 
United States, by members chosen thereto at elections 
wherein a majority of the qualified voters of such state shall 
have participated, shall, in the absence of strong counter- 
vailing testimony, be deemed conclusive evidence that such 
state, and the people thereof, are not then in rebellion 
against the United States. 

Now therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the 
United States, by virtue of the power in me vested as 
commander-in-chief of the army and navy of the United 



The Proclamation, 127 

States, in time of actual armed rebellion against the authority 
and Government of the United States, and as a fit and 
necessary war-measure for suppressing said rebellion, do, 
on this first day of January, in the year of our Lord one 
thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and in accordance 
with my purpose so to do, publicly proclaimed for the full 
period of one hundred days from the day first above- 
mentioned, order and designate as the states and parts of 
states wherein the people thereof, respectively, are this day 
in rebellion against the United States, the following, to wit — 
Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana (except the parishes of St 
Bernard, Plaquemines, Jefferson, St. John, St. Charles, St. 
James, Ascension, Assumption, Terre Bonne, Lafourche, 
St. Mary, St. Martin, and Orleans, including the City of 
New Orleans), Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, 
South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia (except 
the forty-eight counties designated as West Virginia, and 
also the counties of Berkeley, Accomac, Northampton, Eliza- 
beth City, York, Princess Ann, and Norfolk, including the 
cities of Norfolk and Portsmouth), and which excepted 
parts are left for the present precisely as if this proclamation 
were not issued. 

And by virtue of the power, and for the purpose afore- 
said, I do order and declare that all persons held as slaves 
within said designated states and parts of states are, and 
henceforward shall be, free j and that the Executive Govern- 
ment of the United States, including the military and naval 
authorities thereof, will recognise and maintain the freedom 
of said persons. 

And I hereby enjoin upon the people so declared to be 
free, to abstain from all violence, unless in necessary self- 



128 Life of Abraham Lincoln. 

defence ; and I recommend to them that, in all cases where 
allowed, they labour faithfully for reasonable wages. 

And 1 further declare and make known that such persons, 
of suitable condition, will be received into the armed 
service of the United States, to garrison forts, positions, 
stations, and other places, and to man vessels of all sorts 
in said service. 

And upon this act, sincerely believed to be an act of 
justice warranted by the Constitution upon military neces- 
sity, I invoke the considerate judgment of mankind and the 
gracious favour of Almighty God. 

In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand, and 
caused the seal of the United States to be affixed. 

Done at the City of Washington this 
first day of January, in the year of our 
L. S. Lord one thousand eight hundred and 

sixty-three, and of the Independence of 
the United States of America the eighty- 
seventh, 

By the President, 

Abraham Lincoln. 
William H. Seward, Secretary of State. 
A true copy, with the autograph signatures of the Pre- 
sident and the Secretary of State. 

John G. Nicolay, 
Priv. Sec. to the I resident. 

The excitenaent caused by the appearance of the 
proclamation of September 22nd, 1862, was very 
great. The anti-slavery men rejoiced as at the end 
of a dreadful struggle ; those who had doubted 
became at once strong and confident. Whatever 



Reception of the Proclamatio7t. 1 29 

trials and troubles mig-ht be in store, all felt assured, 
even the Copperheads or rebel sympathisers, that 
slavery was virtually at an end. The newspapers 
teemed with gratulations. The following poem, which 
was the first written on the proclamation, or on the 
day on which it appeared, and which was afterwards 
published in the " Continental Magazine," expresses 
the feeling with which it was generally received. 

THE PROCLAMATION.— Sept. 22, 1862. 

Now who has done the greatest deed 

Which History has ever known ? 
And who in Freedom's direst need 

Became her bravest champion ? 
Who a whole continent set free ? 

Who killed the curse and broke the ban 
Which made a lie of liberty? — 

You, Father Abraham — you're the man! 

The deed is done. Millions have yearned 

To see the spear of Freedom cast. 
The dragon roared and writhed and burned: 

You've smote him full and square at last. 
O Great and True ! you do not know — 

You cannot tell — you cannot feel 
How far through time your name must go, 
Honoured by all men, high or low. 

Wherever Freedom's votaries kneel. 

This wide world talks in many a tongue — - 
This world boasts many a noble state; 

In all your praises will be sung — 
In all the great will call you great 

X 



130 Life of Abraham Lincoln. 

Freedom ! where'er that word is known— 

On silent shore, by sounding sea, 
*Mid millions, or in deserts lone — ■ 

Your noble name shall ever be. 

The word is out, the deed is done, 

The spear is cast, dread no delay; 
When such a steed is fairly gone, 

Fate never fails to find a way. 
Hurrah ! hurrah ! the track is clear, 

We know your pohcy and plan ; 
We'll stand by you through every year; 

Now, Father Abraham, you're our man. 

The original draft of the proclamation of Emanci- 
pation was purchased by Thos. B. Bryan, of Chicago, 
for the Sanitary Commission for the Army, held at 
Chicago in the autumn of 1863. As it occurred to 
the w^riter that official duplicates of such an important 
document should exist, he suggested the idea to 
Mr. George H. Boker, subsequently United States 
Minister to Constantinople and to St. Petersburg, at 
whose request the President signed a number of 
copies, some of which were sold for the benefit of the 
Sanitary Fairs held in Philadelphia and Boston in 
1864, while others were presented to public institu- 
tions. One of these, bearing the signatures of 
President Lincoln and Mr. Seward, with the attesting 
signature of John Nicolay, Private Secretary to the 
President, may be seen hanging in the George the 
Third Library in the British Museum. This document 



Arrest of Rebel Agents. 131 

is termed by Mr. Carpenter, in his history of the 
proclamation, "the third great State paper which has 
marked the progress of Anglo-Saxon civilisation. 
First is the Magna Charta, wrested by the barons of 
England from King John ; second, the Declaration of 
Independence ; and third, worthy to be placed upon 
the tablets of history by the first two, Abraham 
Lincoln's Proclamation of Emancipation." 

On the 7th November, Messrs. J. M. Mason and 
John Slidell, Confederate Commissioners to England 
and France, were taken from the British mail steamer 
Trent by Commodore Wilkes, of the American frigate 
Sa7i Jacinto. There was great rejoicing over this 
capture in America, and as great public irritation 
in England. War seemed imminent between the 
countries ; but Mr. Lincoln, with characteristic 
sagacity, determined that so long as there was no 
recognition of the rebels as a nation, not to bring 
on a war. " One war at a time," he said. In a 
masterly examination of the case, Mr. Seward pointed 
out the fact that " the detention of the vessel, and 
the removal from her of the emissaries of the rebel 
Confederacy, was justifiable by the laws of war, and 
the practice and precedents of the British Govern- 
ment itself; but that, in assuming to decide upon 
the liability of these persons to capture, instead of 
sending them before a legal tribunal, where a regular 
trial could be had, Captain Wilkes had departed 



132 Life of Abraham Lincoln^ 

from the rule of international law unifornnly asserted 
by the American Government, and forming part of 
its most cherished policy." The Government, there- 
fore, cheerfully complied with the request of the 
British Government, and liberated the prisoners. No 
person at all familiar with American law or policy 
could doubt for an instant that this decision expressed 
the truth ; but the adherents of the Confederacy, with 
their sympathisers, everywhere united in ridiculing 
President Lincoln for cowardice. Yet it would be 
difficult to find an instance of greater moral courage 
and simple dignity, combined with the exact fulfil- 
ment of what he thought vv^as "just right," than 
Lincoln displayed on this occasion. The wild spirit 
of war was by this time set loose in the North, and 
it was felt that foreign enemies, though they might 
inflict temporary injury, would soon awake a principle 
of union and of resistance which would rather benefit 
than injure the country. In fact, this new difficulty 
was anything but intimidating, and the position of 
President Lincoln was for a time most embarrassing. 
But he could be bold enough, and sail closely enough 
to the law when justice demanded it. In September, 
1 86 1, the rebels in Maryland came near obtaining 
the passage of an act of secession in the Legislature 
of that state. General M'Clellan was promptly 
ordered to prevent this by the arrest of the treason- 
able legislators, which was done, and the state was 



Maryland Black Troops, 133 

saved from a civil war. Of course there was an 
outcry at this, as arbitrary and unconstitutional. 
But Governor Hicks said of it, in the Senate of the 
United States, " I believe that arrests, and arrests 
alone, saved the State of Maryland from destruction." 
When Mr. Lincoln had signed the Proclamation 
of Emancipation, he said, " Now we have got the 
harpoon fairly into the monster slavery, we must take 
care that, in his extremity, he does not shipwreck 
the country." But the monster only roared. The 
rebel Congress passed a decree, offering freedom and 
reward to any slave who would kill a Federal soldier ; 
but it is believed that none availed themselves of this 
chivalric offer. On the contrary, ere long there were 
brought into the service of the United States nearly 
200,000 black troops, among whom the loss by all 
causes was fully one-third — a conclusive proof of their 
bravery and efficiency. Though the Confederates 
knew that their fathers had fought side by side with 
black men in the Revolution and at New .Orleans, 
and though they themselves raised negro regiments 
in Louisiana, and employed them against the Federal 
Government, they were furious that such soldiers 
should be used against themselves, and therefore in 
the most inhuman manner put to death, or sold into 
slavery, every coloured man captured in Federal 
uniform. 



CHAPTER IX. 

Eighteen Hundred and Sixty-two— The Plan of the War, and Strength of 
the Armies— General M'Clellan— The General Movement, January 27th, 
1862— The brilhant Western Campaign— Removal of M'Clellan— The 
Monifor—Ban\e of Fredericksburg — Vallandigham and Seymour— The 
Alabama — President Lincoln declines all Foreign Mediation. 

THE year 1 86 1 had been devoted rather to pre- 
paration for war than to war itself; for every 
day brought home to the North the certainty that 
the struggle would be tremendous — that large armies 
must fight over thousands of miles — and that to 
conquer, men must go forth not by thousands, 
but by hundreds of thousands, and endure such 
privations, such extremes of climate, as are little 
known in European warfare. But by the ist Dec, 
i86i, 640,000 had been enrolled. The leading 
features of the plan of war were an entire blockade 
of the rebel coast, the military control of the border 
Slave States, the recovery of the Mississippi river, 
which is the key of the continent, and, finally, the 
destruction of the rebel army in Virginia, which 
continually threatened the North, and the conquest 
of Richmond, the rebel capital. General M'Clellan 
had in the army of the Potomac, which occupied 
Washington and adjacent places, more than 200,000 



General M'Clellan. 135 

men, well armed and disciplined. In Kentucky, 
General Buell had over 100,000. The rebel force 
opposed to General M'Clellan was estimated at 
175,000, but is now known to have been much less. 
General M'Clellan made little use of the spy-service, 
and apparently cared very little to know what was 
going on in the enemy's camp — an indifference which 
before long led him into several extraordinary and 
ridiculous blunders. As Commander-in-Chief, General 
M'Clellan had control over Halleck, Commander of 
the Department of the West, while General Burnside 
commanded in North Carolina, and Sherman in 
South Carolina. 

But though General M'Clellan had, as he himself 
said, a " real army, magnificent in material, admirable 
in discipline, excellently equipped and armed, and 
well officered," and though his forces were double 
those of the enemy, he seemed to be possessed by 
a strange apathy, which, at the time, was at first 
taken for prudence, but which is perhaps now to be 
more truthfully explained by the fact that this former 
friend of Jefferson Davis, and ardent admirer of 
Southern institutions, was at heart little inclined to 
inflict great injury on the enemy, and was looking 
forward to playing the role which has led so many 
American politicians to their ruin — of being the 
great conciliator between the North and South. 
Through the autumn and winter of 1861-62, he did 



136 Life of Abraham Lincoln. 

literally nothing beyond writing letters to the Pre- 
sident, in which he gave suggestions as to the manner 
in which the country should be governed, and asked 
for more troops. All the pomp and style of a 
grand generalissimo were carefully observed by him ; 
his personal camp equipage required twenty-four 
horses to draw it — a marvellous contrast to the 
rough and ready General Grant, who started on his 
vigorous campaign against Vicksburg with only a 
clean shirt and a tooth-brush. Before long, notwith- 
standing the very remarkable personal popularity of 
General M'CIellan, the country began to murmur 
at his slowness ; and while the President was urging 
and imploring him to do something, the malcontents 
through the North began to blame the Administra- 
tion for these delays. It was said to be doing all in 
its power to crush M'Clellan, to keep him from 
advancing, and to protract the war for its own 
political purposes. 

Weary with the delay. President Lincoln (January 
27th, 1862) issued a war order, to the effect that, on 
the 22nd February, 1862, there should be a general 
movement of all the land and naval forces against 
the enemy, and that all commanders should be held 
to strict responsibility for the execution of this duty. 
In every quarter, save that of the army of the Potomac, 
this was at once productive of energetic movements, 
hard fighting, and splendid Union victories. On the 



U 711011 Victories in the West. 137 

6th November, General U. S. Grant had already- 
taken Belmont, which was the first step in his military- 
career, and on January loth, Colonel Garfield defeated 
Humphrey Marshall at Middle Creek, Kentucky, 
while on January 19th, General G. H. Thomas gained 
a victory at Mill Spring over the rebel General ZoUi- 
koffer. The rebel positions in Tennessee and Ken- 
tucky were protected by Forts Henry and Donelson. 
In concert with General Grant, Commodore Foote 
took Fort Henry, while General Grant attacked Fort 
Donelson. After several days' fighting. General 
Buckner, in command, demanded of General Grant 
an armistice, in which to settle terms of surrender. 
To this General Grant replied, " No terms except 
unconditional and immediate surrender can be 
accepted. I propose to move immediately on your 
works." General Buckner, with 15,000 men, at 
once yielded. From this note, General U. S. Grant 
obtained the name of " Unconditional Surrender 
Grant." These successes obliged the rebels to leave 
Kentucky, and Tennessee was thus accessible to the 
Federal forces. On the 15th February, General 
Mitchell, of General Buell's army, reached Bowling 
Green, executing a march of forty miles in twenty- 
eight hours and a-half, performing, meanwhile, incred- 
ible feats in scaling a frozen steep pathway, a position 
of great strength, and in bridging a river. On the 
24th February, the Union troops seized on Nashville, 



138 Life of Abraham Lincoln. 

and on February 8th, Roanoke Island, North Caro- 
lina, with all its defences, was captured by General 
Burnside and Admiral Goldsborough. In March 
and April, Newbern, Fort Pulaski, and Fort Mason 
were taken from the rebels. On the 6th, 7th, and 
8th of March was fought the great battle of Pea 
Ridge, in Arkansas, by Generals Curtis and Sigel, 
who had drawn General Price thither from Missouri. 
In this terrible and hard-contested battle the Con- 
federates employed a large body of Indians, who, 
however, not only scalped and shamefully mutilated 
Federal troops, but also the rebels themselves. On 
the 7th April, General Pope took the strong position, 
Island No, 10, in the Mississippi, capturing with it 
5000 prisoners and over 100 heavy siege guns. These 
great and rapid victories startled the rebels, who had 
been taught that the Northern foe was beneath 
contempt. They saw that Grant and Buell were 
rapidly gaining the entire south-west. They gathered 
together as large an army as possible, under General 
Albert S. Johnson and Beauregard, and the opposing 
forces fought, April 6th, the battle of Shiloh. Beau- 
regard, with great sagacity, attacked General Grant 
with overwhelming force before Buell could come up. 
" The first day of the battle was in favour of the 
rebels, but night brought Buell, and the morrow 
victory, to the Union army." The shattered rebel 
army retreated into their strong works at Corinth, 



Capture of Corinth. 139 

but "leaving the victors almost as badly punished 
as themselves." General Halleck now assumed com- 
mand of the Western army, succeeding General 
Hunter. On the 30th May, Halleck took Corinth, 
capturing immense quantities of stores and a line 
of fortifications fifteen miles long, but was so dilatory 
in his attack that General Beauregard escaped, and 
transferred his army to aid the rebels in the East. 
For these magnificent victories. President Lincoln 
published a thanksgiving proclamation. 

But while these fierce battles and great victories 
went on in the West, and commanders and men 
became alike inured to hardship and hard fighting, 
the splendid army of the Potomac had done nothing 
beyond digging endless and useless trenches, in which 
thousands found their graves. The tangled and 
wearisome correspondence which for months passed 
between President Lincoln and General M'Ciellan 
is one of the most painful episodes of the war. The 
President urged action. General M'Ciellan answered 
with excuses for inaction, with many calls for more 
men, and with repartees. At one time, when 
clamorous for more troops, he admitted that he had 
over 38,000 men absent on furlough — which accounted 
for his personal popularity with his soldiers. " He 
wrote more despatches, and General Grant fewer, 
than any General of the war." Meanwhile, he was 
building up a political party for himself in the army, 



I40 Life of Abraham Lincoln, 

and among the Northern malcontents, who thought 
it wrong to coerce the South. When positively 
ordered to march, or to seize different points, he 
replied with protests and plans of his own. After 
the battle of Antietam, September i6th, 1862, Pre- 
sident Lincoln again urged M'Clellan to follow the 
retreating Confederates, and advance on Richmond. 
"A most extraordinary correspondence ensued, in 
which the President set forth with great clearness 
the conditions of the military problem, and the 
advantages that would attend a prompt movement 
by interior lines towards the rebel capital." In this 
correspondence, Lincoln displays not only the greatest 
patience under the most tormenting contradictions, 
but also shows a military genius and a clear 
intelligence of what should be done which indicate 
the greatness and versatility of his mind. He 
was, to the very last, kind to M'Clellan, and never 
seems to have suspected that the General "whose 
inactivity was to some extent attributable to an 
indisposition to inflict great injury upon the rebels," 
was scheming to succeed him in his office, and 
intriguing with rebel sympathisers. When at last 
the country would no longer endure the ever-writing, 
never-fighting General, he removed him from com- 
mand (November 7th, 1862), and appointed General 
Burnside in his place. " This whole campaign," says 
Arnold, " illustrates Lincoln's patience, forbearance, 



M'Clellan—The ''Monitorr 141 

fidelity to, and kindness for, M'Clellan. His mis- 
fortunes, disastrous as they were to the country, did 
not induce the President to abandon him. Indeed, 
it was a very difficult and painful thing- for him ever 
to give up a person in misfortune, even when those 
misfortunes resulted from a man's own misconduct." 
But though he spoke kindly of General M'Clellan, 
Mr. Lincoln could not refrain from gently satirising 
the dilatory commander. Once he remarked that 
he would " very much like to borrow the army any 
day when General M'Clellan did not happen to be 
using it, to see if he could not do something with it." 

On the 9th March, an incident occurred which 
forms the beginning of a new era in naval warfare. 
The rebels had taken possession of the steam frigate 
Merrimac at Norfolk, and covered her with iron 
armour. Sailing down the James river, she destroyed 
the frigates Cumberland and Congress, and was about 
to attack the Minnesota, when, by strange chance, 
" there came up the bay a low, turtle-like nondescript 
object, bearing two heavy guns, with which she 
attacked the Merrimac and saved the fleet." This 
was the Monitor, built by the celebrated engineer 
Ericsson. 

There were many in the South, during the war, who 
schemed, or at least talked over, the assassination of 
President Lincoln. On one occasion, when he learned 
from a newspaper that a conspiracy of several hundred 



142 Life of Abraham Lmcoln, 

men was forming in Richmond for the purpose of tak- 
ing his hfe, he smiled and said, " Even if true, I do not 
see what the rebels would gain by killing me. . . . 
Everything would go on just the same. Soon after 
I was nominated, I began to receive letters threaten- 
ing my life. The first one or two made me a little 
uncomfortable, but I came at length to look for a 
regular instalment of this kind of correspondence in 
every week's mail. Oh ! there is nothing like getting 
used to things." 

General Burnside, who accepted with reluctance 
the command of the army (November 8th, 1862), 
was a manly and honourable soldier, but not more 
fortunate than his predecessor. Owing to a want of 
proper understanding and action between himself 
and Generals Halleck, Meigs, and Franklin, the battle 
of Fredericksburg, begun on the nth December, 1862, 
was finally fought on the 15th January, the Union 
army being defeated with a loss of 12,000 men. The 
spirit of insubordination, of delay, and of ill-fortune 
which attended M'Clellan, seemed to have descended 
as a heritage on the army of the Potomac. 

On May 3rd, 1861, President Lincoln had, in an 
order addressed to the Commander of the Forces on 
the Florida coast, suspended the writ of habeas corpus. 
The right to do so was given him by the Constitution ; 
and in time of war, when the very foundations of 
society and life itself are threatened, common sense 



Jtcdge Taney ^s Writ. 143 

dictates that spies, traitors, and enemies may be 
imprisoned by military power. Inter anna silent 
leges — law must yield in war. But that large party 
in the North, which did not believe that anything was 
legal which coerced the Confederacy, was furious. 
On the 27th May, 1 861, General Cadwalader, by the 
authority of the President, refused to obey a writ 
issued by Judge Taney — "the Judge who pronounced 
the Dred-Scott decision, the greatest crime in the 
judicial annals of the Republic" — for the release of 
a rebel prisoner in Fort M'Henry. The Chief Justice 
declared that the President could not suspend the 
writ, which was a virtual declaration that it was 
illegal to put a stop to the proceedings of the 
thousands of traitors in the North, many of whom, 
like the Mayor of New York, were in high office. 
In July, 1862, Attorney-General Black declared that 
the President had the right to arrest aiders of the 
rebellion, and to suspend the writ of habeas corpus in 
such cases. It was by virtue of this suspension that 
the rebel legislators of Maryland had been arrested, 
and the secession of the state prevented (September 
1 6th, 1862). The newspapers opposed to Mr. Lincoln 
attacked the suspension of the writ with great fierce- 
ness. But such attacks never ruffled the President. 
On one occasion, when the Copperhead press was 
more stormy than usual, he said it reminded him of 
two newly-arrived Irish emigrants who one night 



144- Life of Abraham Lincoln. 

were terribly alarmed by a grand chorus of bull-frogs. 
They advanced to discover the "inimy," but could 
not find him, until at last one exclaimed, "And sure, 
Jamie, I belave it's just nothing but a ?iaise" (noise). 
Arrests continued to be made ; among them was that 
of Clement L. Vallandigham, a member of Congress 
from Ohio, who, in a political canvass of his district, 
bitterly abused the Administration, and called on his 
leaders to resist the execution of the law ordering 
the arrest of persons aiding the enemy. For this 
he was properly arrested by General Burnside (May 
4th, 1863), and, having been tried, was sentenced to 
imprisonment ; but President Lincoln modified his 
sentence by directing that he should be sent within 
the rebel lines, and not be allowed to return to the 
United States till after the close of the war. This 
trial and sentence created great excitement, and by 
many Vallandigham was regarded as a martyr. A 
large meeting of these rebel sympathisers was held 
in Albany, at which Seymour, the Governor of New 
York, presided, when the conduct of President 
Lincoln was denounced as establishing military 
despotism. At this meeting, the Democratic or 
Copperhead party of New York, while nominally 
professing a desire to preserve the Union, took the 
most effectual means to destroy it by condemning 
the right of the President to punish its enemies. 
These resolutions having been sent to President 



The *^ Alabama" 145 



Lincoln, he replied by a letter in which he discussed 
at length, and in a clear and forcible style, the 
constitutional provision for suspension of the writ, 
and its application to the circumstances then existing. 
Many such meetings were held, condemning the 
Emancipation Proclamation and the sentence of 
Vallandigham. Great complaint was made that the 
President did not act on his own responsibility in 
these arrests, but left them to the discretion of 
military commanders. In answer, the President 
issued a proclamation meeting the objections. At 
the next state election, Mr. Vallandigham was the 
Democratic candidate for Governor, but was defeated 
by a majority of 100,000. 

The year 1862 did not, any more than 1 861, pass 
without foreign difficulties. Mr. Adams, the American 
minister in London, had remonstrated with the British 
Government to stop the fitting out of rebel privateers 
in English ports. These cruisers, chief among which 
were the Alabama, Florida, and Georgia, avoiding 
armed ships, devoted themselves to robbing and 
destroying defenceless merchantmen. The Alabama 
was commanded by a Captain Semmes, who, while 
in the service of the United States, had written a 
book in which he vigorously attacked, as wicked and 
piratical, the system of privateering, being one of 
the first to oppose that which he afterwards practised. 
Three weeks before the "290," afterwards the Alabama 



146 Life of Abraham Lincoln. 

escaped from the yard of the Messrs. Laird at 
Birkenhead (July, 1862), the British Government was 
notified of the character of the vessel, and warned 
that it would be held responsible for whatever 
damage it might inflict on American commerce. 
The Alabama^ however, escaped, the result being 
incalculable mischief, which again bore evil fruit in 
later days. 

In the same year the Emperor of the French made 
an offer of mediation between the Federal and Con- 
federate Governments, intimating that separation 
was " an extreme which could no longer be avoided." 
The President, in an able reply (February 6th, 1863), 
pointed out the great recaptures of territory from 
the Confederates which had taken place — that what 
remained was held in close blockade, and very 
properly rejected the proposition that the United 
States should confer on terms of equality with armed 
rebels. He also showed that several of the states 
which had rebelled had already returned to the Union. 
This despatch put an end to all proposals of foreign 
intervention, and was of great use in clearly setting 
forth to the partisans of the Union the unflinching 
and determined character of their Government, and 
of the man who was its Executive head. 



CHAPTER X. 

Eighteen Hundred and Sixty-three— A Popular Prophecy— Gen. Bumside 
relieved and Gen. Hooker appointed— Battle of Chancellorsville— The 
Rebels invade Pennsylvania— Batt'^ of Gettysburg— Lincoln's Speech at 
Gettysburg— Grant takes Vicksburg— Port Hudson— Battle of Chattan- 
ooga—New York Riots— The French in Mexico— Troubles in Missouri. 

THERE was, during the rebellion, a popular rhyme 
declaring that " In Sixty-one, the war begun ; in 
Sixty-two, we'll put it through ; in Sixty-three, the 
nigger '11 be free ; in Sixty-four, the war '11 be o'er — 
and Johnny come marching home." The predictions 
were substantially fulfilled. On January ist, 1863, 
nearly 4,000,000 slaves who had been merchandise 
became men in the sight of the law, and the war, 
having been literally "put through" with great 
energy, was beginning to promise a definite success 
to the Federal cause. But the Union owed this 
advance less to its own energy than to the great- 
hearted, patient, and honest man who was at its 
head, and who was more for his country and less for 
himself than any one who had ever before waded 
through the mud of politics to so high a position. 
That so tender-hearted a man should have been so 
firm in great trials, is the more remarkable when we 
remember that his gentleness often interfered w.'th 



148 Life of Abraham Lincoln, " 

justice. When the rebels, by their atrocities to the 
black soldiers who fell into their hands, caused him 
to issue an order (July 30th, 1863), declaring that 
"for every soldier of the United States killed in 
violation of the laws of war a rebel soldier shall be 
executed, and for every one sold into slavery a rebel 
soldier shall be placed at hard labour," it seemed as 
if vigorous retaliation was at last to be inflicted. 
" But," as Ripley and Dana state, " Mr. Lincoln's 
natural tender-heartedness prevented him from ever 
ordering such an execution." 

Lincoln having discovered in the case of M'Clellan 
that incompetent or unlucky generals could be 
"relieved" without endangering the country. General 
Burnside, after the disaster of Fredericksburg, was 
set aside (January 24th, 1863), and General Joseph 
Hooker appointed in his place to command the army 
of the Potomac. From the 27th of April, General 
Hooker advanced to Kelly's Ford, and thence to 
Chancellorsville. A force under General Stoneman 
had succeeded in cutting the railroad in the rear of 
the rebels, so as to prevent their receiving reinforce- 
ments from Richmond, General Hooker intending to 
attack them flank and rear. On the 2nd May, he 
met the enemy at Chancellorsville, where, after a 
terrible battle, which continued with varying success 
for three days, he was compelled to withdraw his 
army to the north bank of the Rappahannock, having 



The Emergency. 149 

lost nearly 18,000 men. The rebel loss was also 
very large. General Stonewall Jackson was killed 
through an accidental shot from one of his own men. 
Inspired by this success, the Confederate General 
Lee resolved to move into the enemy's country. On 
the 9th June, he advanced north-west to the valley 
of the Shenandoah. On the 13th, the rebel General 
Ewell, with a superior force, attacked and utterly 
defeated General Milroy at Winchester. On the 
14th July, the rebel army marched into Maryland, 
with the intention of invading Pennsylvania. A 
great excitement sprung up in the North. In a few 
days the President issued a proclamation, calling for 
120,000 troops from the states most in danger. They 
were promptly sent, and, in addition to these, thou- 
sands formed themselves into improvised companies 
and hurried off to battle — for in those days almost 
every man, at one time or another, had a turn at 
the war, the writer himself being one of those who 
went out in this emergency. The danger was indeed 
great, and had Lee been the Napoleon which his 
friends thought him, he might well enough have 
advanced to Philadelphia. That on one occasion three 
of his scouts came within sight of Harrisburg I am 
certain, having seen them with my own eyes, though 
no one then deemed it credible. But two years after, 
when I mentioned it to a wounded Confederate 
C^jlonel who had come in to receive parole in West 



150 Life of Abraham Lincoln, 

Virginia, he laughed, and assured me that, on the 
day of which I spoke, three of his men returned, 
boasting that they had been in sight of Harrisburg, 
but that, till he heard my story, he had never believed 
them. And this was confirmed by another Con- 
federate officer who was with him. On the evening 
of that day on which I saw the scouts, there was a 
small skirmish at Sporting Hill, six miles south of 
Harrisburg, in which two guns from the artillery 
company to which I belonged took part, and this 
was, I believe, the only fighting which took place so 
far north during the war. 

And now there came on the great battle of Gettys- 
burg, which proved to be the turning-point of the 
whole conflict between North and South. For our 
army, as soon as the rebels advanced north, advanced 
with them, and when they reached Hagerstown, 
Maryland, the Federal headquarters were at Frederick 
City, our whole force, as Raymond states, being thus 
interposed between the rebels and Baltimore and 
Washington. On that day. General Hooker was 
relieved from command of the army, and General 
Meade appointed in his place. This was a true- 
hearted, loyal soldier and gallant gentleman, but by 
no means hating the rebels so much at heart as to 
wish to " improve them all away from the face of 
the earth," as General Birney and others of the 
sterner sort would have gladly done. General Meade 



Battle of Gettysburg. 151 

at once marched towards Harrisburg, upon which 
the enemy was also advancing. On the 1st July, 
Generals Howard and Reynolds engaged the Con- 
federates near Gettysburg, but the foe being strongly 
posted, and superior in numbers, compelled General 
Howard to fall back to Cemetery Hill, around which 
all the corps of the Union army soon gathered. 
About three o'clock, July 2nd, the rebels came down 
in terrible force and with great fury upon the 3rd 
Corps, commanded by General Sickles, who soon 
had his leg shot off. As the corps seemed lost, 
General Birney, who succeeded him, was urged to 
fall back, but he, as one who knew no fear — being a 
grim fanatic — held his ground with the most desperate 
bravery till reinforced by the 1st and 6th Corps. The 
roar of the cannon in this battle was like the sound 
of a hundred thunderstorms, when, at one o'clock on 
the 3rd July, the enemy opened an artillery fire on 
us from 150 guns for two hours, we replying with 
100 ; and I have been assured that, on this occasion, 
the wild rabbits, losing all fear of man in their 
greater terror at this horrid noise, ran for shelter, 
and leaped into the bosoms of the gunners. Now 
the battle raged terribly, as it did the day before, 
when General Wadsworth, of New York, went into 
fight with nearly 2000 men and came out with 700. 
Hancock was badly wounded. The rebels fought 
up to the muzzles of our guns, and killed the artillerj 



152 Life of Ab7'aham Lincoln. 

horses, as many can well remember. And the fight 
was hand-to-hand when Sedgwick came up with his 
New Yorkers, who, though they had marched thirty- 
two miles in seventeen hours, dashed in desperately, 
hurrahing as if it were the greatest frolic in the world. 
And this turned the fight. The rebel Ewell now 
attacked the right, which had been weakened to 
support the centre, and the fighting became terrible ; 
but the 1st and 6th again cam.e to the rescue, and 
drove them back, leaving great heaps of dead. Of 
all the soldiers, I ever found these New Yorkers the 
most courteous in camp and the gayest under priva- 
tions or in battle. On the 4th July, General Slocum 
made an attack at daybreak on Ewell, who com- 
manded Stonewall Jackson's men, but Ewell, after a 
desperate resistance, was at length beaten. 

The victory was complete, but terrible. On the 
Union side were 23,000 killed, wounded, and missing, 
and the losses of the rebels were even greater. General 
Lee leaving in our hands 13,621 prisoners. Lee was 
crushed, but General Meade, in the words of Arnold, 
" made no vigorous pursuit. Had Sheridan or Grant 
commanded in place of Meade, Lee's army would 
never have recrossed the Potomac." It is said that 
President Lincoln was greatly grieved at this over- 
sight, and once, when asked if at any time the war 
might have been sooner terminated by better manage- 
ment, he replied, "Yes, at Malvern Hill, where 



General Meade, 153 



M'CIellan failed to command an immediate advance 
upon Richmond ; at Chancellorsville, when Hooker 
failed to reinforce Sedgwick ; and at Gettysburg, 
when Meade failed to attack Lee in his retreat at 
the bend of the Potomac." 

It is said that General Meade did not know, until 
long after Lee had crossed (July 14th, 1863), or late 
in the morning, that he had done so. Now I knew, 
as did all with me, at two o'clock the day before 
(July 13th), when General Lee would cross. We 
knew that we could not borrow an axe from any 
country house, because the rebels had taken them all 
to make their bridge with ; for I myself went to 
several for an axe, and could not get one. During 
the night, I was awake on guard within a mile or 
very little more of the crossing, and could hear the 
thunder and rattle of the rebel ambulances and 
caissons in headlong haste, and the groans of the 
wounded, to whom the rebels gave little care. If 
General Meade knew nothing of all this, there were 
hundreds in his army who did. But the truth is, 
that as General Meade was one who would never 
strike a man when he was down, so, in the entire 
chivalry of his nature, he would not pursue a flying 
and conquered foe. This was to be expected from 
one who was the Sidney of our war, and yet it was 
but mistaken policy for an enemy which wore orna- 
ments made of the bones of Federal soldiers, whose 



154 Life of AbrahciTn Lincoln. 

women abused prisoners, and whose programme, 
published before the war began, advocated the shoot- 
ing of pickets. Such a foe requires a Cromwell, and 
in Grant they got him. 

During this summer of 1 863, a part of the battle- 
field was bought by the State of Pennsylvania, and 
kept for a burial-ground for those who had fallen in 
the fight. On November 19th, 1863, it was duly 
consecrated with solemn ceremonies, on which occasion 
President Lincoln made a brief address, which has 
been thought, perhaps not without reason, to be the 
finest ever delivered on such an occasion. 

''Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought 
forth upon this continent a new nation conceived in liberty, 
and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created 
equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing 
whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so 
dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle- 
field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of 
that field as a final resting-place for those who here gave 
their lives that the nation might live. It is altogether fitting 
and proper that we should do this. But in a larger sense 
we cannot dedicate — we cannot consecrate — we cannot 
hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who 
struggled here, have consecrated it far above our power to 
add or detract. The world will little note, nor long 
remember, what we say here, but it can never forget what 
they did here. It is for us, the living, rather to be dedicated 
here to the unfinished work which they who fought here 
have thus so far nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be 



Lincoht and Everett, 155 

here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that 
from these honoured dead we take increased devotion to the 
cause for which they here gave the last full measure of 
devotion — that we here highly resolve that the dead shall 
not have died in vain — that the nation shall, under God, 
have a new birth of freedom — and that the Government 
of the people, by the people, and for the people, shall not 
perish from the earth." 

These simple yet grand words greatly moved his 
hearers, and among the thousands could be heard 
sobs and broken cheers. On this occasion, Edward 
Everett, *' New England's most polished and graceful 
orator," also spoke. And this was the difference 
between them — that while Everett made those present 
think only of him living in their admiration of his art, 
the listeners forgot Lincoln, and wept in thinking of 
the dead. But it is to Mr. Everett's credit that on this 
occasion, speaking to the President, he said, "Ah! 
Mr. Lincoln, how gladly would I exchange a my 
hundred pages to have been the author of your 
twenty lines." 

Meanwhile, the army of the West had been far 
from idle. The great Mississippi, whose arms reach 
to sixteen states, was held by the rebels, who thus 
imprisoned the North-West. Those who ask why 
the Confederacy was not allowed to withdraw in 
peace, need only look at the map of North America 
for an answer. And to President Lincoln belongs 



156 Life of Abraham Lincoln. 

specially the credit of having planned the great 
campaign which freed the Mississippi. He was con- 
stantly busy with it ; " his room," says Arnold, " was 
ever full of maps and plans ; he marked upon them 
every movement, and no subordinate was at all times 
so completely a master of the situation." He soon 
appreciated the admirable qualities of the unflinching 
Grant, and determined that he should lead this 
decisive campaign in the West. General Grant had 
many enemies, and some of them accused him of 
habits of intemperance. To one of these, endeavour- 
ing to thus injure the credit of the General, President 
Lincoln said, ''Does Grant get drunk?" "They say 
so," was the reply. "Are you quite sure he gets 
drunk .''" " Quite." There was a pause, which the 
President broke by gravely exclaiming, " I wonder 
where he buys his whiskey!" "And why do you 
want to know V was the astonished answer. " Because 
if I did," replied Mr. Lincoln, " I'd send a barrel or 
two of it round to some other Generals I know of." 

In January, 1863, Generals M'Clernand and Sher- 
man, commanding the army of the Mississippi, acting 
with the fleet under command of Admiral Porter, 
captured Arkansas Post, with 7000 prisoners and 
many cannon. On the 2nd February, General Grant 
arrived near Vicksburg. His object was to get his 
army below and behind this city, and the difliculties 
in the way were enormous, as the whole vicinity of 



Grant at Vicksburg, 157 

the place " was a network of bayous, lakes, marshes, 
and old channels of streams." For weeks the 
untiring Grant was baffled in his efforts to cut a 
channel or find a passage, so as to approach the city 
from the ridge in the rear. He was, as Washburne 
said, "terribly in earnest." He had neither horse, 
nor servant, nor camp chest, nor for days even a 
blanket. He fared like the commonest soldier under 
his command, partaking the same rations, and sleep- 
ing on the ground under the stars. After many 
failures, the General, "with a persistence which has 
marked his whole career, conceived a plan withottt 
parallel in military history for its boldness and 
daring." This was briefly to march his army to a 
point below Vicksburg, "then to run the bristling 
batteries of that rebel Gibraltar, exposed to its 
hundreds of heavy guns, with his transports, and then 
to cross the Mississippi below Vicksburg, and, return- 
ing, attack that city in the rear." The crews of the 
very frail Mississippi steamboats, aware of the danger, 
with one exception, refused to go. But when Grant 
called for volunteers, there came from his army such 
numbers of pilots, engineers, firemen, and deck-hands, 
that he had to select by lot those who were to sail^ 
on this forlorn hope. And they pressed into the 
desperate undertaking with such earnestness, that 
great numbers offered all their money for a chance 
in this lottery of death, as much as 100 dollars in 



158 Life of Abraham Lincoln, 

United States currency being offered and refused 
by those who had had the luck to get what seemed 
10 be a certainty to lose their lives. And these men 
truly rode into the jaws of death, believing long 
beforehand that there was very little hope for any 
one to live. Into the night they sailed in dead 
silence, and then, abreast of the city, there came from 
the batteries such a blaze of fire and such a roar of 
artillery as had seldom been seen or heard in the 
war. The gunboats fired directly on the city ; the 
transports went on at full speed, and the troops 
-v^re landed. But this was only the first step in a 
tremendous drama. The battle at the taking of 
Fort Gibson was the next. Now Grant found him- 
self in the enemy's country, between two fortified 
cities, with two armies, greatly his superior in numbers, 
against him. Then followed battle after battle, and 
"rapid marches, brilliant with gallant charges and 
deeds of heroic valour, winning victories in quick 
succession — at Raymond on the 12th, at Jackson the 
capital of Mississippi on the 14th, at Baker's Creek 
on the i6th, at Big Block River on the i/th, and 
finally closing with driving the enemy into Vicks- 
burg, and completely investing the city." The whole 
South was in terror, and Jefferson Davis sent messages 
far and wide, imploring every rebel to hasten to 
Vicksburg. It was all in vain. After desperately 
assaulting the city without success, Grant resolved 



Lincoln and Grant. 



159 



on a regular siege. " Then, with tireless energy, with 
sleepless vigilance night and day, with battery and 
rifle, with trench and mine, the army made its 
approaches, until the enemy, worn out with fatigue, 
exhausted of food and ammunition, and driven to 
despair, finally laid down their arms," Grant sternly 
refusing, as was his wont, any terms to the conquered. 
By this capture, with its accompanying engagements, 
the rebels lost 37,000 prisoners and 10,000 killed and 
wounded. The joy which this victory excited all 
through the Union was beyond description. Pre- 
sident Lincoln wrote to General Grant a letter which 
was creditable to his heart. In it he frankly con- 
fessed that Grant had understood certain details 
better than himself. "I wish to make personal 
acknowledgment," he said, " that you were right and 
I was wrong." 

In this war the rebels set the example of greatly 
encouraging irregular cavalry and guerillas, having 
always an idea that the Northern army would be 
exterminated in detail by sharp-shooters, and cut 
to pieces with bowie-knives. This, more than any 
other cause, led to their own ruin, for all such troops 
in a short time became mere brigands, preying on 
friends as well as foes. On both sides there were 
dashing raids, and at first the rebels, having better 
cavalry, had the best of it. But as the war went on, 
there were great changes. Cavalry soldiers from 



i6o Life of Abraham Lincoln. 

horses often came to mules, or even down to their 
own legs ; while infantry, learning that riding was 
easier than walking, and horse-stealing as easy as 
either, transformed themselves into cavalry, without 
reporting the change to the general in command, and 
if they had done so, the chances are ten to one he 
and all his staff would have been found mounted on 
just such unpaid-for steeds. If the rebels Ashley, 
Morgan, and Stewart set fine examples in raiding, 
they were soon outdone by Phil Sheridan and Kil- 
patrick — who was as good an orator as soldier, and 
who once, when surprised by the rebels, fought and 
won a battle in his shirt — or Custer and Grierson, 
Dahlgren and Pleasanton. Of this raiding and 
robbing it may be truly said that, while the South 
taught the trick, it did, after all, but nibble at the 
edges of the Northern cake, while the Federals sliced 
theirs straight through. 

General Banks, who had succeeded General Butler 
in the Department of the Gulf, invested Port Hudson. 
The siege lasted until May 8th, and during the attack, 
the black soldiers, who had been slaves, fought with 
desperate courage, showing no fear whatever. In 
America we had been so accustomed to deny all 
manliness to the negro, that few believed him capable 
of fighting, though many thought otherwise near 
Nashville in 1864, when they saw whole platoons of 
black soldiers lying dead in regular rows, just as they 



Black Soldiers. i6i 



had been shot down facing the enemy. Even the 
common soldiers opposed the use of black troops, 
until the idea rose slowly on their minds that a negro 
was not only as easy to hit as a white man, but much 
more likely to attract a bullet from the chivalry. As 
I once heard a soldier say, " I used to be opposed to 
having black troops, but yesterday, when I saw ten 
cart-loads of dead niggers carried off the field, I 
thought it better they should be killed than I." Of 
this tender philanthropy, which was willing to let 
the negro buy a place in the social scale at the 
expense of his life, there was a great deal in the 
army, especially among the Union-men of the South- 
West, who, while brave as lions or grizzly bears, were 
yet prudent as prairie-dogs, as all true soldiers should 
be. This charge of the Black Regiment at Port 
Hudson was made the subject of a poem by 
George H. Boker, which became known all over the 
country. 

" Now," the flag-sergeant cried, 
" Though death and hell betide, 
Let the whole nation see 
If we are fit to be 
Free in this land ; or bound 
Down, like the whining hound- 
Bound with red stripes of pain 
In our old chains again !" 
Oh, what a shout there went 
From the Black Regiment 1 



102 Life of Abraham Lincoln, 

" Freedom ! " their battle-cry — • 
" Freedom ! or leave to die !" 
Ah ! and they meant the word 
Not as with us 'tis heard. 
Not a mere party shout, 
They gave their spirits out ; 
Trusted the end to God, 
And on the gory sod 
Rolled in trmmphant blood. 
Glad to strike one free blow, 
Whether for weal or woe ; 
Glad to breathe one free breath, 
Though on the lips of death. 
This was what " Freedom " lent 
To the Black Regiment. 

Hundreds on hundreds fell; 
But they are resting well ; 
Scourges and shackles strong 
Never shall do them wrong. 
Oh, to the living {q.'n^ 
Soldiers, be just and true ; 
Hail them as comrades tried, 
Fight with them side by side; 
* Never, in field or tent. 
Scorn the Black Regiment. 

On the 9th July, Port Hudson surrendered to 
General Banks, yielding over 5000 prisoners and fifty 
pieces of artillery. And now, from the land of snow 
to the land of flowers, the whole length of the Mis- 
sissippi was once more beneath the old flag, diadfree. 



Battle of Chicaniauga, 163 

Meanwhile, there was hard fighting in Tennessee. 
After a battle at Murfreesboro', and the seizure of 
that place, the Union General Rosencranz (January 
5th, 1863) remained quiet, till, in June, he compelled 
General Bragg to retreat across the Cumberland 
Mountains to Chattanooga. By skilful management, 
he compelled the Confederates to evacuate this town. 
They had thus been skilfully drawn from East 
Tennessee, which was occupied by General Burnside. 
Both Rosencranz and the rebel Bragg were now 
largely reinforced, the former by General Hooker. 
At Vicksburg, Grant had taken 37,000 prisoners, 
which he had set free on parole, on condition that 
they should not fight again during the war; but 
these men were promptly sent to reinforce Bragg. 
September 19, these opposing forces began the battle 
of Chicamauga, in which the Union troops achieved 
a dearly-bought victory, though the enemy retreated 
by night. The Federal loss was 16,351 killed, 
wounded, and missing ; that of the rebels, as stated 
in their return, was 18,000. 

October 19th, 1863, General Grant assumed full 
command of the Departments of Tennessee, the 
Cumberland, and Ohio, Thomas holding under him 
the first, and Sherman the second. After the 
desperate battle of Chicamauga, Thomas followed 
Rosencranz to Chattanooga, and the rebels invested 
the place. In October, Rosencranz was relieved. 



164 Life of Abraham Lincoln, 

Grant arrived on the i8th, and found the enemy 
occupying the steep and rocky Missionary Ridge and 
Lookout Mountain, on whose summit they sat like 
eagles. Grant had under him General Thomas, the 
invincible Sheridan, Hooker — who, as a hard-fighting 
corps-commander, was without an equal — Howard, 
and Blair. This battle of Chattanooga, in which the 
Union army charged with irresistible strength, and 
the storming of Lookout Mountain, formed, as has 
been said, the most dramatic scene of the war. 
There was desperate fighting above the clouds, and 
advancing through the mist, made denser by the 
smoke of thousands of guns. The Union loss in this 
battle was 5286 killed and wounded, and 330 missing ; 
that of the Confederates about the same, but losing 
in prisoners 6242, with forty cannon. Thus Ten- 
nessee was entirely taken, in gratitude for which 
President Lincoln issued a proclamation, appointing 
a day of thanksgiving for this great victory. 

In the July of this year, John Morgan, the guerilla, 
made a raid, with 4000 men, into Ohio — not to fight, 
but to rob, burn, and murder. He did much damage ; 
but before he could recross the river, his men were 
utterly routed, and the pious Colonel Shackelford 
announced in a despatch, " By the blessing of 
Almighty God, I have succeeded in capturing General 
John Morgan, Colonel Chike, and the remainder of 
the command." President Lincoln, when informed 



The New York Riots. 165 

soon after of the death of this cruel brigand, said, 
*' Well, I wouldn't crow over anybody's death, but I 
can take this as resignedly as any dispensation of 
Providence." 

A draft for militia had been ordered (March 3rd, 
1863), and passed with little trouble, save in New 
York, where an immense number of the dangerous 
classes and foreigners of the lowest order, headed by 
such demagogues as Fernando Wood, sympathised 
with the South, and controlled the elections. There 
was a wise and benevolent clause in this draft, which 
exempted from conscription any one who would pay 
to Government 300 dollars. The practical result of 
this clause was that plenty of volunteers were always 
ready to go for this sum, which fixed the price of a 
substitute and prevented fraud ; and in all the wards, 
the inhabitants, by making up a joint fund, were able 
to exempt any dweller in the ward from service, as 
there were always poor men enough glad to go for 
so much money. But in New York the mob was 
stirred up to beheve that this was simply an exemp- 
tion for the rich, and a terrible riot ensued, which 
was the one effort made by the Copperheads during 
the war to assist their Confederate friends by violence. 
During the four days that it lasted, the most horrible 
outrages were committed, chiefly upon the helpless 
blacks of the city, though many houses belonging to 
prominent Union-men were burned or sacked. As 



1 66 Life of Abraham Lincoln, 

all the troops had been sent away to defend the 
Border and repel the rebels, there was no organised 
force to defend the city. After the first day the 
draft was forgotten, and thousands of the vilest 
wretches of both sexes gave themselves up simply to 
plunder, outrage, and murder. The mob attacked 
the coloured half-orphan asylum, in which nearly 800 
black children were sheltered, and set fire to it, 
burning thirty of the children alive, and sadly abusing 
the rest. Insane with cruelty, they caught and killed 
every negro they could find. In one case, they hung 
a negro, and then kindled a fire under him. This 
riot was stirred up by rebel agents, who hoped to 
make a diversion in the free states in favour cf their 
armies, and influence the elections. It did cause the 
weakening of the army of Meade, since many troops 
were promptly sent back to New York. There was 
also a riot in Boston, which was soon repressed. 
The rebels, while following out the recommendation 
of Jefferson Davis, had gone too far, even for his 
interest. He had urged pillage and incendiarism ; 
but the Copperheads of New York found out that a 
mob once in motion plunders friend and foe indis- 
criminately. The Governor of New York, Seymour, 
was in a great degree responsible for all these 
outrages by his vigorous opposition to the draft, and 
by the feeble tone of his remonstrances, which sug'^ 
gested sympathy and encouragement for the rioter.s. 



7 he French in Mexico, 167 

The arrival of troops at once put a stop to the 
riots. 

One of the most annoying entanglements of 1863 
for the Government of the United States was the 
presence of a French army in Mexico, ostensibly to 
enforce the rights of French citizens there, but in 
reality to establish the Archduke Maximilian as its 
emperor. It was given out that permanent occupa- 
tion was not intended ; but as it became apparent 
to Mr. Dayton, our Minister at Paris, that the French 
actually had in view a kingdom in Mexico, and as it 
had always been an understood principle of American 
diplomacy that the United States would avoid 
meddling in European affairs, on condition that no 
European Government should set up a kingdom on 
our continent, the position of our Administration was 
thus manifested — 

" The United States have neither the right nor the dis- 
position to intervene by force on either side in the lament- 
able war which is going on between France and Mexico. 
On the contrary, they practise, in regard to Mexico, in every 
phase of that war, the non-intervention which they require 
all foreign powers to observe in regard to the United States. 
But, notwithstanding this self-restraint, this Government 
knows full well that the inherent normal opinion of Mexico 
favours a government there, republican in its form and 
domestic in its organisation, in preference to any monarchical 
institutions to be imposed from abroad. This Government 
knows also that this normal opinion of the people of 



1 68 Life of Abraham Lincoln, 

Mexico resulted largely from the influence of popular 
opinion in this country, and is continually invigorated by it. 
The President believes, moreover, that this popular opinion 
of the United States is just in itself, and eminently essential 
to the progress of civilisation on the American continent, 
which civilisation, it believes, can and will, if left free from 
European resistance, work harmoniously together with 
advancing refinement on the otiier continents. 
Nor is it necessary to practise reserve upon the point that 
if France should, upon due consideration, determine to 
adopt a policy in Mexico adverse to the American opinion 
and sentiments which I have described, that policy would 
probably scatter seeds which would be fruitful of jealousies 
which might ultimately ripen into collision between France 
and the United States and other American republics." 

The French Government was anxious that the 
United States should recognise the Government of 
Maximilian, but its unfriendly and unsympathetic 
disposition towards the Federal Government was 
perfectly understood, and "the action of the Adminis- 
tration was approved of by the House of Representa- 
tives in a resolution of April 4th, 1864." 

Eighteen hundred and sixty-three had, however, 
much greater political trouble, the burden of 
which fell almost entirely on President Lincoln. 
The Emancipation principles were not agreeable 
to the most ultra Abolitionists, who were willing 
at one time to let the South secede rather than 
be linked to slavery, and who at all times, in 



General Fremont,- 169 

their impatience of what was undeniably a terrible 
evil, regarded nothing so much as the welfare of the 
slaves. Time has since shown that Emancipation, 
which in its broad views included the interests of both 
white and black, was by far the wisest for botlj. In 
Missouri, these differences of opinion were fomented 
by certain occurrences into painful discord among 
the Union-men. In 1861, General Fremont, having 
military command of the state, proclaimed that he 
assumed the administrative power, thus entirely 
superseding the civil rulers. General Fremont, it 
will be remembered, also endeavoured, by freeing the 
slaves, to take to himself functions belonging only to 
the President. He, like General M'Clellan, affected 
great state, and before his removal (November 2nd, 
1863), was censured by the War Office for lavish 
and unwarranted expenditures, which was significant 
indeed in the most extravagantly expensive war of 
modern times. Fremont's removal greatly angered his 
friends, especially the Germans. On the other hand, 
General Halleck, who succeeded General Hunter — who 
had been locum tenens for only a few days after 
Fremont's removal — made bad worse by excluding 
fugitive slaves from his lines. All this was followed by 
dissensions between General Gamble, a gradual Eman- 
cipationist, and General Curtis, who had been placed 
in command (September 19th, 1863) when the states 
of Missouri, Kansas, and Arkansas were formed into 



170 Life of Abraham Lincoht, 

a military district. During the summer, the Union 
army being withdrawn to Tennessee, Kansas and 
Missouri were overrun by bands of guerillas, under 
an infamous desperado named Colonel Quantrill, 
whose sole aim was robbery, murder, and outrage, 
and who made a speciality of burning churches. 
This brigand, acting under Confederate orders, thus 
destroyed the town of Lawrence, Kansas. For this, 
Government was blamed, and the dissensions grew 
worse. Therefore, General Curtis was removed, and 
General Schofield put in his place, which gave rise to 
so many protests, that President Lincoln, at length 
fairly roused, answered one of these remonstrances 
as follows : — 

" It is very painful to me that you in Missouri can not 
or will not settle your factional quarrel among yourselves. 
I have been tormented with it beyond endurance, for 
months, by both sides. Neither side pays the least respect 
to my appeals to your reason. I am now compelled to 
take hold of the case. 

"A. Lincoln." 

• 

These unreasonable quarrels lasted for a long time, 
and were finally settled by the appointment of 
General Rosencranz. No fault was found with 
General Schofield — in fact, in his first order. General 
Rosencranz paid a high tribute to his predecessor, for 
the admirable state in which he found the business 
of the department. So the difficulties died. In the 



Troubles in Missouri. 171 

President's letter to General Schofield, when ap- 
pointed, he had said, " If both factions, or neither, 
abuse you, you will probably be about right. Beware 
of being assailed by one and praised by the other." 
Judged by his own rule in this case, says Holland, 
the President was as nearly right as he could be, for 
both sides abused him thoroughly. It may be added 
that, having scolded him to their hearts' content, and 
declared him to be a copy of all the Neros, Domi- 
tians, and other monsters of antiquity, the Missouri 
Unionists all wheeled into line and voted unanimously 
for him at the next Presidential election, as if nothing 
had happened. 



CHAPTER XI. 

Proclamation of Amnesty— Lincoln's Benevolence — His Self-reliance- 
Progress of the Campaign — The Summer of 1864 — Lincoln's Speech at 
Philadelphia— Suffering in the South— Raids— Sherman's iMarch- Grant's 
Position — Battle of the Wilderness— Siege of Petersburg— Chambersburg 
— Naval Victories — Confederate Intrigues — Presidential Election — Lincoln 
Re-elected — Atrocious attempts of the Confederates. 

THE American political year begins with the 
meeting of Congress, which in 1863 assembled 
on Monday, December 7th. On the 9th, President 
Lincoln sent to both Houses a message, in which 
he set forth the principal events of the year, as 
regarded the interests of the American people. 
The previous day he had issued a proclamation of 
amnesty to all those engaged in the rebellion, who 
"should take an oath to support, protect, and defend 
the Constitution of the United States and the union 
of the states under it, with the Acts of Congress 
passed during the rebellion, and the proclamations of 
the President concerning slaves." From this amnesty 
those were excepted who held high positions in the 
civil or military service of the rebels, or who had left 
similar positions in the Union to join the enemy. 
It also declared that whenever, in any of the rebel 
states, a number of persons, not less than one-tenth 
of the qualified voters, should take this oath and 



Lincoln's Kindness. 173 

establish a state government which should be repub- 
lican, it should be recognised as the government of 
the state. On the 24th March, he issued a proclama- 
tion following this, in which he defined more closely 
the cases in which rebels were to be pardoned. He 
allowed personal application to himself in all cases. 
Mr. Lincoln was of so gentle a disposition that he 
seldom refused to sign a pardon, and a weeping 
widow or orphan could always induce him to pardon 
even the worst malefactors. The manner in which 
he would mingle his humorous fancies, not only with 
serious business, but with almost tragic incidents, 
was very peculiar. Once a poor old man from 
Tennessee called to beg for the life of his son, who 
was under sentence of death for desertion. He 
showed his papers, and the President, taking them 
kindly, said he would examine them, and answer the 
applicant the next day. The old man, in an agony 
of anxiety, with tears streaming, cried, "To-morrow 
may be too late ! My son is under sentence of death. 
It must be done nozv, or not at ally The President 
looked sympathetically into the old man's face, took 
him by the hands, and pensively said, " That puts me 
in mind of a little story. Wait a bit — Pll tell it. 

" Once General Fisk of Missouri was a Colonel, 
and he despised swearing. When he raised his 
regiment in Missouri, he proposed to his men that he 
should do all the profanity in it. They agreed, and 



1/4 Life of Adraha7n Lincoln. 

for a long time not a solitary swear was heard among 
them. But there was an old teamster named John 
Todd, who, one day when driving his mules over a 
very bad road, and finding them unusually obstinate, 
could not restrain himself, and burst into a tremen- 
dous display of ground and lofty swearing. This 
was overheard by the Colonel, who at once brought ^ 
John to book. ' Didn't you promise/ he said, indig- 
nantly, 'that I was to do all the swearing of the 
regiment.?' *Yes, I did, Colonel,' he replied; 'but 
the truth is, the swearing had to be done then, or not 
at all — and you weren't there to do it.' Well," con- 
cluded Mr. Lincoln, as he took up a pen, "it seems 
that this pardon has to be done now, or not at all, 
like Todd's swearing ; and, for fear of a mistake," he 
added, with a kindly twinkle in his eye, " I guess 
we'll do it at once." Saying this, he wrote a few 
lines, which caused the old man to shed more tears 
when he read them, for the paper held the pardon of 
his son. Once, and once only, was President Lincoln 
known to sternly and promptly refuse mercy. This 
was to a man w.io had been a slave-trader, and who, 
after his term of imprisonment had expired, was 
still kept in jail for a fine of looo dollars. He fully 
acknowledged his guilt, and was very touching in his 
appeal on paper, but Lincoln was unmoved. " I 
could forgive the foulest murder for such an appeal," 
he said, " for it is my weakness to be too easily moved 



Anecdote of Lincoln, 175 

by appeals for mercy ; but the man who could go to 
Africa, and rob her of her children, and sell them into 
endless bondage, with no other motive than that of 
getting dollars and cents, is so much worse than the 
most depraved murderer, that he can never receive 
pardon at my hands. No ; he may rot in jail before 
be shall have liberty by any act of mine." On one 
occasion, when a foolish young fellow was condemned 
to death for not joining his regiment, his friends went 
with a pardon, which they begged the President to 
sign. They found him before a table, of which every 
inch was deeply covered with papers. Mr. Lincoln 
listened to their request, and proceeded to another 
table, where there was room to write. " Do you 
know," he said, as he held the document of life or 
death in his hand, " that table puts me in mind of a 
little story of the Patagonians. They open oysters 
and eat them, and throw the shells out of the window 
till the pile gets higher than the house, and then " — 
he said this, writing his signature, and handing them 
the paper — " they mover 

Holland tells us that, in a letter to him, a personal 
friend of the President said, " I called on him one day 
in the earlier part of the war. He had just written a 
pardon for a young man who had been sentenced to 
be shot for sleeping at his post as sentinel. He 
remarked, as he read it to me, " I could not think of 
going into eternity with the blood of that poor young 



1^6 Life of Abraham Lincoln. 

man on my skirts." Then he added, " It is not to be 
wondered at that a boy raised on a farm, probably in 
the habit of going to bed at dark, should, when 
required to watch, fall asleep ; and I cannot consent 
to shoot him for such an act." This story has a 
touching continuation in the fact that the dead body 
of this youth was found among the slain on the field 
of Fredericksburg, wearing next his heart a photo- 
graph of the great President, beneath which was 
written, God bless President Lincoln. Once, when a 
General went to Washington to urge the execution 
of twenty-four deserters, believing that the army was 
in danger from the frequency of desertion. President 
Lincoln replied, " General, there are already too many 
weeping widows in the United States. For God's 
sake, don't ask me to add to the number, for I won't 
do it." 

It is certain that every man who knew anything of 
the inner workings of American politics, or of Cabinet 
secrets, during the war, will testify that no President 
ever did so much himself, and relied as little on 
others, as Lincoln. The most important matters were 
decided by him alone. He would listen to his 
Cabinet, or to anybody, and shrewdly avail himself 
of information or of ideas, but no human being ever 
had the slightest personal hifluence on him. Others 
might look up the decisions and precedents, or sug- 
gest the legal axioms for him, but he invariably 



His Diplomatic Ability. lyj 

managed the case, though with all courtesy and 
deference to his diplomatic junior counsel. He was 
brought every day into serious argument with the 
wisest, shrewdest, and most experienced men, both 
foreign and American, but his own intelligence 
invariably gave him the advantage. And it is not 
remarkable that the man who had been too much 
for Judge Douglas should hold his own with any one. 
While he was President, his wonderful powers of 
readily acquiring the details of any subject were 
thoroughly tested, and as President, he perfected the 
art of dealing with men. One of his French 
biographers, amazed at the constantly occurring 
proofs of his personal influence, assures his readers 
that, "during the war, Lincoln showed himself an 
organiser of the first class. A new Carnot, he created 
armies by land and navies by sea, raised militia, 
appointed generals, directed public affairs, defended 
them by law, and overthrew the art of maritime war 
by building and launching his terrible monitors. He 
showed himself a finished diplomatist, and protected 
the interests of every one. His success attested the 
mutual confidence of people and President in their 
common patriotism. The emancipation of the slaves 
crowned his grand policy." If some of these details 
appear slightly exaggerated, it must be borne in mind 
that all this and more appears to be literally true to 
any foreigner who, in studying Lincoln's life, learns 



178 Life of Abraham Lincoln, 

what a prodigious amount of work was executed by 
him, and to what a degree he impressed his own 
mind on everything. He either made a shrewd 
remark or told a story with every signature to any 
remarkable paper, and from that day the document, 
the deed, and the story were all remembered in 
common. 

On the 1st February, 1864, the President issued 
an order for a draft for 500,000 men, to serve for 
three years or during the war, and (March 14th) again 
for 200,000 men for service in the army and navy. 
On the 26th February, 1864, General Grant, in the 
words of the President, received " the expression of 
the nation's approbation for what he had done, and 
its reliance on him for what remained to do in the 
existing great struggle," by being appointed Lieu- 
tenant-General of the army of the United States.^ 
It was owing to Mr. Lincoln that General Grant 
received the full direction of military affairs, limited 
by no annoying conditions. He at once entered on 
a vigorous course of action. " The armies of Eastern 
Tennessee and Virginia," says Brockett, " were heavily 
increased by new levies, and by an effective system 
of concentration ; and from the Pacific to the Mis- 
sissippi it soon became evident that, under the 

1 This honour had only been twice conferred before — once on 
Washington, and once by brevet on General W. Scott. — Badeau's 
"Life of Grant." 



The Dark Summer of i86^, 179 

inspiration of a great controlling mind, everything 
was being placed in condition for dealing a last 
effective blow at the already tottering Confederacy." 
The plan was that Sherman should take Atlanta, 
Georgia, and then, in succession, Savannah, Colum- 
bia, Charleston, Wilmington, and then join Grant. 
Thomas was to remain in the South-West to engage 
with Hood and Johnston, while Grant, with his 
Lieutenants, Meade, Sheridan, and Hancock, were to 
subdue General Lee and capture Richmond, the rebel 
capital. 

But, notwithstanding the confidence of the country 
in General Grant, and the degree to which the Con- 
federacy had been compressed by the victories of 
1863, the summer of 1864 was the gloomiest period 
of the war since the dark days of 1862. In spite of 
all that had been done, it seemed as if the war would 
never end. The Croakers, whether Union-men or 
Copperheads,^ made the world miserable by their 
complaints. And it is. certain that, in the words of 
General Badeau, " the political and the military 
situation of affairs were equally grave. The rebellion 
had assumed proportions that transcend comparison. 
The Southern people seemed all swept into the 
current, and whatever dissent had originally existed 

1 Those who sympathised with the South were called Copperheads, 
after the deadly and treacherous snake of that name common in the 
Western and Southern United States. 



i8o Life of Abraham Lincoln, 

among them, was long since, to outside apprehension, 
swallowed up in the maelstrom of events. The 
Southern snake, if scotched, was not killed, and 
seemed to have lost none of its vitality. In the 
Eastern theatre of war, no real progress had been 
made during three disastrous years. Gettysburg had 
saved Philadelphia and Washington, but even this 
victory had not resulted in the destruction of Lee ; 
for m the succeeding January, the rebel chief, with 
undiminished legions and audacity, still lay closer to 
the national capital than to Richmond, and Washing- 
ton was in nearly as great danger as before the first 
Bull Run." General Grant's first steps, though not 
failures, did little to encourage the North. It is true 
that, advancing on the 3rd of May, and fighting 
terribly every step from the Rapidan to the James, 
he " had indeed flanked Lee's army from one position 
after another, until he found himself, by the ist June, 
before Richmond — but he had lost 100,000 men ! 
Here the enemy stood fast at bay." The country 
promptly m.ade up his immense losses ; but by this 
time there was a vacant chair in almost every house- 
hold, and the weary of waiting exclaimed every hour, 
** How long, O Lord ! how long V 

Two things, however, were contributing at this 
time to cheer the North. The lavish and extrava- 
gant manner in which the Government gave out 
contracts to support its immense army, and the 



Revival of Prosperity, i8i 

liberality with which it was fed, clothed, and paid, 
though utterly reprehensible from an economical 
point of view, had at least the good effect of stimu- 
lating manufactures and industry. In the gloomiest 
days of 1 86 1-2, when landlords were glad to induce 
respectable tenants to occupy their houses rent-free, 
and poverty stared us all in the face, the writer 
had predicted, in the "Knickerbocker" and "Con- 
tinental " Magazines, that, in a short time, the war 
would bring to the manufacturing North such a 
period of prosperity as it had never experienced, 
while in the South there would be a corresponding 
wretchedness. The prediction, which was laughed 
at, was fulfilled to the letter. Before the end of the 
war, there was a blue army coat not only on every 
soldier, but on almost every other man in America, 
for the rebels clad themselves from our battle-fields, 
and, in some mysterious manner, immense quantities 
of army stores found their way into civilian hands. 
All over the country there was heard not only the 
busy hum of factories, but the sound of the hammer, 
as new buildings were added to them. Paper-money 
was abundant, and speculation ran riot. All this 
made a grievous debt ; but it is certain that the 
country got its money's worth in confidence and 
prosperity. When, however, despite this, people 
began to be downcast, certain clergymen, with all the 
women, organised on an immense scale a Sanitary 



1 82 Life of Abraham Lincoln. 

Commission, the object of which was to contribute 
comforts to the soldiers in the field. To aid this 
benevolent scheme, enormous '• Sanitary Fairs" were 
held in the large cities, and these were carried out in 
such a way that everybody was induced to contribute 
money or personal exertions in their aid. These 
fairs, in mere magnitude, were almost like the colossal 
Expositions with which the world has become familiar, 
but were more varied as regards entertainment. 
That of Philadelphia was the Great Central Sanitary 
Fair, where Mr. Lincoln and his wife were present, 
on the i6th of June, 1864. Here I saw Mr. Lincoln 
for the first time. The impression which he made 
on me was that of an American who is reverting to 
the Red Indian type — a very common thing, indeed, 
in the South-West among pure-blooded whites. His 
brown complexion and high cheek-bones were very 
Indian. And, like the Indian chiefs, he soon proved 
that he had the gift of oratory when he addressed 
the multitude in these words — 

"I suppose that this toast is intended to open the way 
for me to say something. War at the best is terrible, and 
this of ours, in its magnitude and duration, is one of the 
most terrible the world has ever known. It has destroyed 
property, destroyed life, and ruined homes. It has pro- 
duced a national debt and a taxation unprecedented in the 
history of the country. It has caused mourning among us 
until the heayens may almost be said to be hung in black. 



speech at the Sanitary Fair, 183 

And yet it continues. It has had accompaniments not 
before known in the history of the world — I mean the 
Sanitary and Christian Commissions with their labours for 
the relief of the soldiers, and these fairs, first begun at 
Chicago, and next held in Boston, Cincinnati, and other 
cities. The motives and objects that lie at the bottom of 
them are worthy of the most that we can do for the soldier 
who goes to fight the battles of his country. From the 
tender hand of woman, very much is done for the soldier, 
continually reminding him of the care and thought for hira 
at home. The knowledge that he is not forgotten is grateful 
to his heart. Another view of these institutions is worthy 
of thought. They are voluntary contributions, giving proof 
that the national resources are not at all exhausted, and 
that the national patriotism will sustain us through all. It 
is a pertinent question. When is this war to end? I do not 
wish to name a day when it will end, lest the end should 
not come at any given time. We accepted this war, and 
did not begin it. We accepted it for an object, and when 
that object is accomplished, the war will end ; and I hope to 
God that it never will end until that object is accomplished. 
Speaking of the present campaign, General Grant is reported 
io have said, ' I am going to fight it out on this line if it 
takes all summer.' This war has taken three years; it was 
begun, or accepted, upon the line of restoring the national 
authority over the whole national domain ; and for the 
American people, as far as my knowledge enables me to 
speak, I say we are going through on this line if it takes 
three years more. I have not been in the habit of making 
predictions in regard to the war, but now I am almost 
tempted to hazard one. I will. It is that Grant is this 



1 84 Life of Abraham Lincoln. 

evening in a position, with Meade, and Hancock of Penn* 
sylvania, whence he can never be dislodged by the enemy 
until Richmond is taken. If Lshall discover that General 
Grant may be greatly facilitated in the capture of Richmond 
by briefly pouring to him a large number of armed men at 
the briefest notice, will you go? (Cries of "Yes.") Will 
you march on with him? (Cries of '-Yes, yes.") Then I 
shall call upon you when it is necessary. Stand ready, for I 
am waiting for the chance." 

The hint given in this speech was better understood 
when, during the next month, a call was made for 
500,000 more men. These Sanitary Fairs, and the 
presence of Mr. Lincoln, greatly revived the spirits 
of the Union party. They had learned by this 
time that their leader was not the vulgar Boor, Ape, 
or Gorilla which the Southern and Democratic press 
persisted to the last in calling him, but a great, kind- 
hearted man, whose sympathy for their sorrows was 
only surpassed by the genius with which he led them 
out of their troubles. The writer once observed of 
Dr. George M'Clellan, father of the General, that 
while no surgeon in America equalled him in coolness 
and daring in performing the most dangerous opera- 
tions, no woman could show more pity or feeling- 
than he would in binding up a child's cut finger ; 
and, in like manner, Abraham Lincoln, while calmly 
dealing at one time with the ghastly wounds of his 
country, never failed to tenderly aid and pity the 
lesser wounds of individuals. 



Stiff erings in the South. 185 

But if the North was at this season in sorrow, those 
in the South had much greater cause to be so, and 
they all deserved great credit for the unflinching 
manner in which they endured their privations. 
From the very beginning, they had wanted many 
comforts ; they were soon without the necessaries of 
civilised life. They manufactured almost nothing, 
and for such goods as came in by blockade-running 
enormous prices were paid. The upper class, who 
had made the war, were dependent on their servants 
to a degree which is seldom equalled in Europe ; and, 
like those ants which require ant-slaves to feed them, 
and to which their Richmond "sociologists" had 
pointed as a natural example, they began to starve 
as their sable attendants took unto themselves the 
wings of Freedom and flew away. In their army, 
desertion and straggling were so common, that the 
rebel Secretary of War reported that the effective 
force was not more than half the men whose names 
appeared on the rolls. Their paper-money depreciated 
to one-twentieth its nominal value. There were great 
failures of crops in the South ; the Government made 
constant seizures of provisions and cattle ; and as 
the war had been confined to their own territory, 
the population were harried by both friend and 
foe. 

Events were now in progress which were destined 
to utterly ruin the Confederacy. These were the 



1 86 Life of Abraham Lincoln, 

gigantic Northern incursions, which, whether success* 
ful or not in their strategic aims, exhausted the 
country, and set the slaves free by thousands. Early 
in February, General Gillmore's attempt to establish 
Union government in Florida had failed. So, too, 
did Sherman, proceeding from Vicksburg, and Smith, 
leaving Memphis, fail in their plan of effecting a 
junction, although the destruction which they caused 
in the enemy's country was enormous. In the same 
month, Kilpatrick made a raid upon Richmond, which 
was eminently successful as regarded destroying 
railways and canals. In March, General Banks 
undertook an expedition to the Red River, of which 
it may be briefly said that he inflicted much damage, 
but received more. In April, Fort Pillow, on the 
Mississippi, held by the Union General Boyd, was 
treacherously captured by the rebel General Forrest, 
by means of a flag of truce. After the garrison of 
300 white men and 350 black soldiers, with many 
women and children, had formally surrendered and 
given up their arms, a horrible scene of indiscriminate 
murder ensued. A committee of investigation, 
ordered by Congress, reported that "men, women, and 
little children were deliberately shot down and hacked 
to pieces with sabres. Officers and men seemed to vie 
with each other in the devilish work. They entered 
the hospitals and butchered the sick. Men were 
nailed by their hands to the floors and sides of build- 



Confederate Atrocities, 187 

ings, and then the buildings set on fire." Some negroes 
escaped by feigning death, and by digging out from the 
thin covering of earth thrown over them for burial. 
The rebel press exulted over these barbarities, 
pleading the terrible irritation which the South felt 
at finding her own slaves armed against her. Investi- 
gation proved that this horrible massacre was in 
pursuance of a pre-conceived policy, which had been 
deliberately adopted in the hope of frightening out 
of the Union service not only negroes, but loyal white 
Southerners. From the beginning of the war, the 
rebels were strangely persuaded that they had the 
privilege of inflicting severities which should not be 
retaliated upon them. Thus at Charleston, in order 
to check the destructive fire of the Union guns, they 
placed Northern officers in chains within reach of the 
shells, and complacently notified our forces that they 
had done so. Of course an equal number of rebel 
officers of equal rank were at once exposed to the 
Confederate fire, and this step, which resulted in 
stopping such an inhuman means of defence, was 
regarded with great indignation by the South. But 
it was no unusual thing with rebels to kill helpless 
captives. A horrible instance occurred (April 20th, 
1864) at the capture of Fort Plymouth, N. C, where 
white and black troops were murdered in cold blood 
alter surrendering. These deeds filled the country 
with horror, and Mr. Lincoln, who was "deeply 



1 88 Life of Abraham Lincoln. 

touched," publicly avowed retaliation, which he never 
inflicted. 

The advance of Sherman towards the sea was not 
exactly what Jefferson Davis predicted (September 
22nd, 1864) it would be. Sherman's force, he said, 
"would meet the' fate of the army of the French 
Empire in the retreat from Moscow. Our cavalry 
will destroy his army . . . and the Yankee 
General will escape with only a body-guard." The 
events of this march are thus summed up by Holland. 
Sherman was opposed by Johnston, who, with a 
smaller army, had the advantage of very strong 
positions and a knowledge of the country, he moving 
towards supplies, while Sherman left his behind him. 
The Federal General flanked Johnston out of his 
works at Buzzard's Roost ; and then, fighting and 
flanking from day to day, he drove him from Dalton 
to Atlanta. To do this he had to force " a difficult 
path through mountain defiles and across great 
rivers, overcoming or turning formidable entrenched 
positions, defended by a veteran army commanded 
by a cautious and skilful leader." At Atlanta, 
Johnston was superseded by Hood, and Hood 
assumed the offensive with little luck, since in three 
days he lost half his army, and then got behind the 
defences of Atlanta. Here he remained, surrounded 
by the toils which Sherman was weaving round him 
with consummate skill, and which, as Sherman 



She7^man's March, 189 

admits in his admirably written report/ were patiently 
and skilfully eluded. But on the 2nd September, 
Atlanta fell into Sherman's hands. The aggregate 
loss of the Union army from Chattanooga to Atlanta 
was in all more than 30,000 — that of the rebels above 
40,000. Then Sherman proposed to destroy Atlanta 
and its roads, and, sending back his wounded, to 
move through Georgia, " smashing things to the sea.'* 
And this he did most effectually. Hood retreated to 
Nashville, where he was soon destined to be conquered 
by Thomas. 

On the 1 2th November, Sherman began his march. 
The writer has heard soldiers who were in it call it a 
picnic. In a month he passed through to Savannah, 
which was held by 15,000 men; by the 20th it was 
taken; and on the 21st General Sherman sent to 
President Lincoln this despatch, " I beg to present 
to you as a Christmas gift the city of Savannah, with 
150 guns, plenty of ammunition, and about 25,000 
bales of cotton." In this march he carried away more 
than 10,000 horses and mules, and set free a vast 
number of slaves. Then, turning towards the North, 
the grand North-Western army co-operated with 
Grant, "crushing the fragments of the rebellion 
between the opposing forces." 

Meanwhile, Hood, subdued by Sherman, had, with 

* Sherman's Report, 1865; also, Report of Secretary of War, 1865. 



1 90 Life of Abraham Lincoln, 

an army of nearly 6o,ooo men, advanced to the 
North, where he was followed by General Thomas. 
On November 20th, Hood, engaging with Schofield, 
who was under Thomas, was defeated in a fierce and 
bloody battle at Franklin, in which he lost 6000 men. 
On the 15th December, the battle of Nashville took 
place, and lasted two days, the rebels being utterly 
defeated, though they fought with desperate courage. 
They lost more than 4000 prisoners, fifty-three pieces 
of artillery, and thousands of small arms. 

The close of December, 1864, found the Union armies 
in this position — " Sheridan had defeated Early in the 
Shenandoah Valley ; Sherman was at Savannah, 
organising further raids up the coast ; Hood was 
crushed ; Early's army was destroyed ; Price had 
been routed in Missouri ; Cawley was operating for 
the capture of Mobile ; and Grant, with the grip of a 
bull-dog, held Lee in Richmond." The Union cause 
was greatly advanced, while over all the South a 
darkness was gathering as of despair. And yet, with 
indomitable pluck, they held out for many a month 
afterwards. And " there was discord in the councils 
of the rebels. They began to talk of using the 
negroes as soldiers. The commanding General 
demanded this measure ; but it was too late. Lee 
was tied, and Sherman was turning his steps towards 
him, and, among the leaders of the rebellion, there 
was a fearful looking-out for fatal disasters." Yet, 



Grant's Campaign in 1864. 191 

with the inevitable end full in view, the Copperhead 
party, now openly led by M'Clellan, continued to cry 
for "peace at any price," and clamour that the South 
should be allowed to go its way, and rule the country. 
We have seen how Grant, now at the head of the 
entire national army of 700,000 men, had planned 
in council with Sherman the great Western campaign, 
and its result. After this arrangement, he returned 
to Virginia, to conduct in person a campaign against 
Lee. A letter which he received at this time from 
President Lincoln, and his answer, are equally 
honourable to both. That from Lincoln was as 
follows : — 

"Executive Mansion, Washington, 
''April 2,0th, 1864. 
** Not expecting to see you before the spring campaign 
opens, I wish to express in this way my entire satisfaction 
with what you have done up to this time, so far as I under- 
stand it. The particulars of your plans I neither know nor 
seek to know. You are vigilant and self-reliant; and, 
pleased with this, I wish not to obtrude any restraints or 
constraints upon you. ... If there be anything want- 
ing which it is in my power to give, do not fail to let me 
know it. And now, with a brave army and a just cause, 
may God sustain you. 

"A. Lincoln." 

General Grant, in his reply, expressed in the most 
candid manner his gratitude that, from his first 
entrance into the service till the day on which he 



192 Life of Ah'aham Lincoln, 

wrote, he had never had cause for complaint against 
the Administration or Secretary of War for embar- 
rassing him in any way ; that, on the contrary, he 
had been astonished at the readiness with which 
everything had been granted ; and that, should he be 
unsuccessful, the fault would not be with the Presi- 
dent. The manliness, honesty, and simple gratitude 
manifest in Grant's letter, render it one of the most 
interesting ever written. While M'Clellan was in 
command, Mr. Lincoln found it necessary to super- 
vise ; after Grant led the army, he felt that no 
direction was necessary, and that an iron wheel must 
have a smooth way. To some one inquiring curiously 
what General Grant intended to do, Mr. Lincoln 
replied, "When M'Clellan was in the hole, I used to 
go up the ladder and look in after him, and see what 
he was about ; but, now this new man, Grant, has 
pulled up the ladder and hauled the hole in after him, 
I can't tell what he is doing." 

On May 2nd, 1864, Grant marched forward, and on 
the next night crossed the Rapidan river. On May 
5th began that terrible series of engagements known 
as the Battle of the Wilderness, which lasted for five 
days. During this conflict the Union General Wads- 
worth and the brave Sedgwick, the true hero of 
Gettysburg, were killed. Fifty-four thousand five 
hundred and fifty-one men were reported as killed, 
wounded, or missing on the Union side, from May 



Bloodiest Battle of the Age. 193 

3rd to June 15th; Lee's losses being about 32,(X>o. 
There was no decisive victory, but General Lee was 
obliged to gradually yield day by day, while Grant, 
with determined energy, flanked him until he took 
refuge in Richmond. At this time there was fearful 
excitement in the North, great hope, and greater 
grief, but more resolve than ever. President Lincoln 
was in great sorrow for such loss of life. When he 
saw the lines of ambulances^ miles in length coming 
towards Washington, full of wounded men, he would 
drive with Mrs. Lincoln along the sad procession, 
speaking kind words to the sufferers, and endeavour- 
ing in many ways to aid them. One day he said, 
" This sacrifice of life is dreadful ; but the Almighty 
has not forsaken me nor the country, and we shall 
surely succeed." 

Though the inflexible Grant had no idea of failure, 
and though his losses were promptly supplied, he 
was in a very critical position, where a false move 
would have imperilled the success of the whole war. 
On the 1 2th June, finding that nothing could be 
gained by directly attacking Lee, he resolved to 
assail his southern lines of communications. He 
soon reached the James river, and settled down to 
the siege of Petersburg. 

Sherman had opened his Atlanta campaign as 
soon as Grant had telegraphed to him that he had 
crossed the Rapidan. At the same time, he had 

N 



194 Life of Abraha77i Lincoln. 

oidered Sigel to advance through the Shenandoah 
towards Stanton (Va.), and Crook to come up the 
Kanawha Valley towards Richmond, but both were 
defeated, while Butler, though he inflicted great 
damage on the enemy, instead of capturing Peters- 
burg, was himself "sealed up," as Grant said. "All 
these flanking movements having failed, and Lee 
being neither defeated in the open field nor cut off 
from Richmond, the great problem of the war instantly 
narrowed itself down to the siege of Petersburg, which 
Grant began, and which, as it will be seen, long out- 
lasted the year. Meanwhile, terrible injury was 
daily inflicted on the rebels in Virginia, by the 
numerous raiding and flanking parties which, whether 
conquering or conquered, destroyed everything, sweep- 
ing away villages and forests alike for firewood, as I 
well know, having seen miles of fences burned. 

"On May i8th, just after the bloody struggle at 
Spottsylvania, a spurious proclamation, announcing 
that Grant's campaign was closed, appointing a day 
of fasting and humiliation, and ordering a new draft 
for 400,000 men, appeared in the New York 'World* 
and 'Journal of Commerce,' newspapers avowedly 
hostile to the Administration. The other journals, 
knowing that this was a forgery, refused to publish it. 
By order of the President, the offices of these two 
publications were closed ; and, this action being 
denounced as an outrage on the liberty of the press, 



Rebel Raids, 195 



Governor Seymour attempted to have General Dix 
and others indicted for it." The real authors of the 
forgery were two men named Howard and Mallison, 
their object being stock-jobbing purposes. 

When General Sigel was defeated, he was relieved 
by General Hunter, who, at first successful, was at 
last obliged to retreat before the rebel Early, with 
very great loss. This placed Hunter in such a 
position that he could not protect Washington. 
Early, finding himself unopposed, crossed Maryland, 
plundered largely, fought several battles with the 
militia, burned private houses, destroyed the trains 
on the Washington and Baltimore railroads, and 
threatened both cities. Then there was great 
anxiety in the North, for just at that time Grant was 
in the worst of his great struggle. But when Early 
was within two miles of Baltimore, he was confront- 
ed by the 6th Corps from the Potomac, the 19th 
from Louisiana, and large forces from Pennsylvania, 
and driven back. During this retreat, he committed 
a great outrage. Having entered Chambersburg, 
Pennsylvania, a peaceful, unfortified town, he de- 
manded 100,000 dollars in gold, to be paid within an 
hour, and as the money could not be obtained, he 
burned the place. Meanwhile, Sheridan had made his 
famous raid round Lee's lines, making great havoc 
with rebel stores and lines of transit, but in no 
manner infringing on the rules of honourable warfare. 



196 Life of Abraham Lincoln. 

During July, 1864, Admiral Farragut, of the Union 
navy, with a combination of land and sea forces, 
attacked Mobile. A terrible conflict ensued, resulting 
in the destruction of a rebel fleet, the capture of the 
famous armour-ship Tennessee^ four forts, and many 
guns and prisoners. This victory was, however, the 
only one of any importance gained during this battle- 
summer. It effectually closed one more port. But 
the feeling of depression was now so great in the 
North, owing to the great number of deaths in so 
many families, that President Lincoln, by special 
request of the Congress — which adjourned July 4th, 
1864 — issued a proclamation, appointing a day of 
fasting and prayer. But two days after, public sorrow 
was " much alleviated," says Raymond, " by the news 
of the sinking of the pirate Alabama" (June 19th) by 
the Kearsage, commanded by Winslow. Yet for all 
the grief and gloom which existed, the Union-men of 
America were never so obstinately determined to 
resist. The temper of the time was perfectly shown 
in a pamphlet by Dr. C, J. Stille of Philadelphia, 
entitled, " How a Free People conduct a long War," 
which had an immense circulation, and which pointed 
out in a masterly manner that all wars waged by a 
free people for a great principle have progressed 
slowly and involved untiring vigour. And President 
Lincoln, when asked what we should do if the war 
should last for years, replied, " We'll keep pegging 



Rebel Intrigues, \y/ 

away." In short, the whole temper of the North 
was now that of the Duke of Wellington, when he 
said at Waterloo, '* Hard pounding this, gentlemen ; 
but we'll see who can pound the longest." 

During the summer of 1864, two self-styled agents 
of the Confederate Government appeared at Clifton, 
Canada, in company with W. Cornell Jewett, whom 
Raymond terms an irresponsible and half-insane 
adventurer, and George Sanders, described as a 
political vagabond. Arnold states that expeditions 
to rob and plunder banks over the border, and to fire 
Northern cities, were subsequently clearly traced to 
them ; "and that there is evidence tending to connect 
them with crimes of a still graver and darker charac- 
ter." These men were employed by the Confederate 
Government, to be acknowledged or repudiated 
according to the success of their efforts. They 
induced Horace Greeley to aid them in negotiating 
for peace, and he wrote to President Lincoln as 
follows — " I venture to remind you that our bleeding, 
bankrupt, almost dying country, also longs for peace ; 
shudders at the prospect of fresh conscriptions, of 
further wholesale devastations, and of new rivers of 
human blood. I fear, Mr. President, you do not 
realise how intensely the people desire any peace, 
consistent with the national integrity and honour." 

To Mr. Lincoln, who firmly believed that the best 
means of attaining peace was to conquer it, such 



198 Life of Abraham Lincoln, 

language seemed out of place. Neither did he believe 
that these agents had any direct authority, as proved 
to be the case. After an embarrassing correspon- 
dence, the President sent to these '* commissioners " a 
message, to the effect that any proposition embracing 
the restoration of peace, the integrity of the whole 
Union, and the abandonment of slavery, would be 
received by the Government of the United States 
if coming from an authority that can control the 
armies now at war with the United States. In answer 
to this, the agents declared, through Mr. Greeley, 
that it precluded negotiation, and revealed in the 
end that the purpose of their proceedings had been 
to influence the Presidential election. As it was, 
many were induced to believe that Mr. Lincoln, 
having had a chance to conclude an honourable 
peace, had neglected it. 

Meanwhile, Mr. Lincoln had the cares of a Pre- 
sidential campaign on his hands. Such an election, 
in the midst of a civil war which aroused everywhere 
the most intense and violent passions, was, as Arnold 
wrote, a fearful ordeal through which the country 
must pass. At a time when, of all others, confidence 
in their great leader was most required, all the 
slander of a maddened party was let loose upon him. 
General M'Clellan, protesting that personally he was 
in favour of war, became the candidate of those whose 
watchword was " Peace at any price," and who 



The Presidential Election, 199 

embraced all those who sympathised with the South 
and with slavery. Their "platform" v/as simply a 
treasonable libel on the Government, declaring that, 
"under the pretence of the military necessity of a 
war-power higher than the Constitution, the Consti- 
tution itself has been disregarded in every part, and 
public liberty and private rights alike trodden down, 
and the material prosperity of the country essentially 
impaired ; and that justice, humanity, liberty, and the 
public welfare demand that immediate efforts be made 
for a cessation of hostilities." 

It was, therefore, distinctly understood that the 
question at stake in this election was, whether the 
war should be continued. The ultra-Abolition ad- 
herents of General Fremont were willing to see a 
pro-slavery President elected rather than Mr. Lincoln, 
so great was their hatred of him and of Emancipation, 
and they therefore nominated their favourite, knowing 
that he could not be elected, but trusting to divide 
and ruin the Lincoln party. But this movement 
came to an inglorious end. A portion of the Repub- 
lican party offered the nomination for the Presidency 
to General Grant, which that honourable soldier 
promptly declined in the most straightforward 
manner. As the election drew on, threats and 
rumours of revolution in the North were rife, and 
desperate efforts were made by Southern emissaries 
to create alarm and discontent. But such thorough 



200 Life of Abraham Lincoln, 

precautions were taken by the Government, that the 
election was the quietest ever known, though a very- 
heavy vote was polled. On the popular vote, Lincoln 
received 2,223,035; M'Clellan, 1,811,754. The latter 
carried only three states — New Jersey, Delaware, and 
Kentucky, while all the others which held an election 
went to Lincoln. The total number admitted and 
counted of electoral votes was 233, of which Lincoln 
and Johnson (Vice-President) had 212, and M'Clellan 
and Pendleton 21. 

Of this election, the President said, in a speech 
(November loth, 1864) — 

"So long as I have been here, I have not willingly- 
planted a thorn in any man's bosom. While I am duly 
sensible to the high compliment of a re-election, and duly 
grateful, as I trust, to Almighty God for having directed my 
countrymen to a right conclusion, as I think, for their good, 
it adds nothing to my satisfaction that any other man may 
be disappointed by the result. May I ask those who have 
not differed with me to join with me in this spirit towards 
those who have?" 

Those who yet believe that the rebels were in the 
main chivalric and honourable foes, may be asked 
what would they have thought of the French, if, 
during the German war, they had sent chests of 
linen, surcharged with small-pox venom, into Berlin, 
under charge of agents officially recognised by 
Government ? What would they have thought of 



Atrocious Warfare, 201 

Germany, if official agents from that country had 
stolen into Paris and attempted to burn the city. 
Yet both of these things were attempted by the 
agents of the Confederate Government — not by un- 
authorised individuals. On one night, fires were 
placed in thirteen of the principal hotels of New York, 
while, as regards incendiarism, plots were hatched 
from the beginning in the South to treacherously set 
fire to Northern cities, to murder their public men, 
and otherwise make dishonourable warfare, the proof 
of all this being in the avowals and threats of the 
Southern newspapers. Immediately after the taking 
of Nashville by Thomas, the writer, with a friend, 
occupied a house in that town which had belonged 
to a rebel clergyman, among whose papers were found 
abundant proof that this reverend incendiary had 
been concerned in a plot to set fire to Cincinnati. 

In connection with these chivalric deeds of intro- 
ducing small-pox and burning hotels, must be 
mentioned other acts of the rebel agents, sent by their 
Government on "detached service." On the 19th 
October, a party of these " agents " made a raid into 
St. Albans, Vermont, where they robbed the banks, 
and then retreated into Canada. These men were, 
however, discharged by the Canadian Government ; 
the money which they had stolen was given up to 
them, as Raymond states, "under circumstances 
which cast great suspicion upon prominent members 



202 Life of Ab7^aham Lincoln, 

of the Canadian Government." The indignation 
which this conduct excited in the United States is 
indescribable, and the Canadian Government, recog- 
nising their mistake, re-arrested such of the raiders 
as had not made their esc?pe. But the American 
Government, finding that they had few friends beyond 
the frontier, properly established a strict system of 
passports for all immigrants from Canada. 

The year 1864 closed under happy auspices. "The 
whole country had come to regard the strength of 
the rebellion as substantially broken." There were 
constant rumours of peace and reconciliation. The 
rebels, in their exhaustion, were presenting the most 
pitiable spectre of a sham government. The whole 
North was crowded with thousands of rebel families 
which would have starved at home. They were 
not molested ; but, as I remember, they seemed to 
work the harder for that to injure the Government 
and Northern people among whom and upon whom 
they lived, being in this like the teredo worms, which 
destroy the trunk which shelters and feeds them. 



CHAPTER XII. 

The President's Reception of Negroes— The South opens Negotiations for 
Peace — Proposals— Lincoln's Second Inauguration — The Last Battle- 
Davis Captured— End of the War— Death of Lincoln— Public Mourning, 

THE political year of 1865 began with the assem- 
blage of Congress (December 5th, 1864). The 
following day, Mr. Lincoln sent in his Message. 
After setting forth the state of American relations 
with foreign Governments, he announced that the 
ports of Fernandina, Norfolk, and Pensacola had been 
opened. In 1863, a Spaniard named Arguelles, who 
had been guilty of stealing and selling slaves, had 
been handed over to the Cuban Government by 
President Lincoln, and for this the President had 
been subjected to very severe criticism. In the 
Message he vindicated himself, declaring that he had 
no doubt of the power and duty of the Executive 
under the law of nations to exclude enemies of the 
human race from an asylum in the United States. 
He showed an enormous increase in industry and 
revenue, a great expansion of population, and other 
indications of material progress ; thus practically 
refuting General Fremont's shameless declaration that 



204 Ltfe of Abraham Lincoln, 

Lincoln's " administration had been, politically and 
financially, a failure." On New Year's Day, 1865, 
the President, as was usual, held a reception. The 
negroes — who waited round the door in crowds to see 
their great benefactor, whom they literally worshipped 
as a superior being, and to whom many attributed 
supernatural or divine power — had never yet been 
admitted into the White House, except as servants. 
But as the crowd of white visitors diminished, a few 
of the most confident ventured timidly to enter the 
hall of reception, and, to their extreme joy and 
astonishment, were made welcome by the President. 
Then many came in. An eye-witness wrote of this 
scene as follows — " For nearly two hours Mr. Lincoln 
had been shaking the hands of the white ' sovereigns,' 
and had become excessively weary — but here his 
nerves rallied at the unwonted sight, and he welcomed 
this motley crowd with a heartiness that made 
them wild with exceeding joy. They laughed and 
wept, and wept and laughed, exclaiming through 
their blinding tears, 'God bless you!' 'God bless 
Abraham Lincoln!' 'God bress Massa Linkum!'" 

It was usual with Louis the XI. to begin im- 
portant State negotiations by means of vagabonds 
of no faith or credibility, that they might be easily 
disowned if unsuccessful ; and this was precisely 
the course adopted by Davis and his Govern- 
ment when they employed Jewett and Saunders 



Negotiations for Peace, 205 

to sound Lincoln as to peace. A more reputable 
effort was made in February, 1865, towards the same 
object. On December 28th, 1864, Mr. Lincoln had 
furnished Secretary F. P. Blair with a pass to enter 
the Southern Hnes and return, stipulating, however, 
that he should in no way treat politically with the 
rebels. But Mr. Blair returned with a message from 
Jefferson Davis, in which the latter declared his 
willingness to enter into negotiations to secure peace 
to the two countries. To which Mr. Lincoln replied 
that he would be happy to receive any agent with a 
view to securing peace to our common country. On 
January 29th, the Federal Government received an 
application from A. H. Stephens, the Confederate 
Vice-President, R. M. T. Hunter, President of the 
rebel Senate, and A. J. Campbell, the rebel Secretary 
of War, to enter the lines as ^^^^^/-commissioners, to 
confer with the President. This was a great advance 
in dignity beyond Saunders and Jewett. Permission 
was given for the parties to hold a conference on the 
condition that they were not to land, which caused 
great annoyance to the rebel agents, who made no 
secret of their desire to visit Washington. They were 
received on board a steamboat off Fortress Monroe. 
By suggestion of General Grant, Mr. Lincoln 
was personally present at the interview. The Pre- 
sident insisted that three conditions were indis- 
pensable — I. Restoration of the national authority in 



^o6 Life of Abraham Lincoln, 

all the states ; 2. Emancipation of the slaves ; and 
3. Disbanding of the forces hostile to Government. 
The Confederate Commissioners suggested that if 
hostilities could be suspended while the two Govern- 
ments united in driving the French out of Mexico, or 
in a war with France, the result would be a better 
feeling between the South and North, and the 
restoration of the Union. This proposition — which, 
to say the least, indicated a lamentable want of 
gratitude to the French Emperor, who had been 
anxious from the beginning to recognise the South 
and destroy the Union, and who would have done so 
but for the English Government — was rejected by 
Mr. Lincoln as too vague. During this conference, 
Mr. Hunter insisted that a constitutional ruler could 
confer with rebels, and adduced as an instance the 
correspondence of Charles I. with his Parliament. To 
which Mr. Lincoln replied that he did not pretend 
to be versed in questions of history, but that he 
distinctly recollected that Charles I. lost his head. 
Nothing was agreed upon. But, as Mr. Stephens 
declared, Jefferson Davis coloured the report of this 
meeting so as to crush the great Southern peace- 
party. He began by stating that he had received a 
written notification which satisfied him that Mr. 
Lincoln wished to confer as to peace, when the truth 
was that Lincoln had forbidden Mr. Blair to open 
any such negotiation. And having, by an inflamma- 



His Second Inauguration, 207 

tory report, stirred up many people to hold " black- 
flag" meetings and "fire the Southern heart," he said 
of the Northern men in a public speech — " We will 
teach them that, when they talk to us, they talk to 
their masters."^ Or, as it was expressed by a leading 
Confederate journal — "A respectful attitude, cap in 
hand, is that which befits a Yankee when speaking to 
a Southerner." 

On January 31st, the House of Representatives 
passed a resolution submitting to the Legislatures of 
all the states a constitutional amendment entirely 
abolishing slavery, which had already passed the 
Senate (April 8th, 1864). On the 4th March, 1865, 
Mr. Lincoln was inaugurated for a second time. 
Four years before, when the same ceremony was per- 
formed, he was the least known and the most hated 
man who had ever been made President. Since then 
a tremendous storm had darkened the land, and now 
the sky, growing blue again, let the sunlight fall on 
his head, and the world saw what manner of man he 
was. And such a day this 4th of March literally 
was, for it began with so great a tempest that it 
was supposed the address must be delivered in 
the Senate Chamber instead of the open air. But, 
as Raymond writes, "the people had gathered in 



^ Stephens' Statement, Augusta, Georgia, ** Chronicle," June 17th, 
1875. Quoted by Dr. Brockett, p. 579. 



2o8 Life of Abraham Lincoln, 

immense numbers before the Capitol, in spite of the 
storm, and just before noon the rain ceased, the 
clouds broke away, and, as the President took the 
oath of office, the blue sky appeared, a small 
white cloud, like a hovering bird, seemed to hang 
above his head, and the sunlight broke through the 
clouds, and fell upon him with a glory afterwards 
felt to have been an emblem of the martyr's crown 
which was so soon to rest upon his head." Arnold 
and many others declare that, at this moment, a 
brilliant star made its appearance in broad daylight, 
and the incident was regarded by many as an omen 
of peace. As I have myself seen in America a star 
at noon-day for two days in succession, I do not 
doubt the occurrence, though I do not remember it 
on this 4th of March. The inaugural address was 
short, but remarkable for vigour and a very concilia- 
tory spirit. He said — 

" On the occasion corresponding to this, four years ago, 
all thoughts were anxiously directed to an impending civil 
war. All dreaded it — all sought to avoid it While the 
inaugural address was being delivered from this place, 
devoted altogether to saving the Union without war, insur- 
gent agents were in the city seeking to destroy it without 
war. . . . Both parties deprecated war, but one of them 
would make war rather than let the nation survive, and the 
other would accept war rather than let it perish — and the 
war came. One-eighth of the population were slaves, who 
constituted a peculiar and powerful interest. All knew that 



His Inaugural Address. 209 

this interest was the cause of the war. To strengthen and 
perpetuate this interest was the object for which the insur- 
gents would rend the Union by v/ar, while the Government 
claimed right to no more than restrict the territorial enlarge- 
ment of it. . . . Both parties read the same Bible and 
pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the 
other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to 
ask a just God's assistance in wringing their bread from the 
sweat of other men's faces ; but let us judge not that we be 
not judged. The prayer of both could not be answered. 
That of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty 
has His own purposes. 'Woe unto the world because of 
offences, for it must needs be that offences come, but woe 
unto the man by whom the offence cometh.' If we shall 
suppose that American slavery is one of these offences which, 
in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, 
having continued through His appointed time, He now wills 
to remove, and that He gives to both North and South this 
terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offence 
came, shall we discern therein any departure from those 
Divine attributes which the believers in a living God always 
ascribe to Him? Fondly do we hope, fervently do we 
pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass 
away. Yet if God wills that it continue until all the wealth 
piled by the bondman's 250 years of unrequited toil shall 
be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash 
shall be requited by another drawn with the sword, as was 
said 3000 years ago, so it must still be said the judgments 
of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. With malice 
toward no one, with charity for all, with firmness in the 
right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to 
o 



210 Life of Abraham Lincoln. 

finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, 
to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his 
widow and his orphans, to do all which may achieve and 
cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves, and with 
all nations.'* 

If there was ever a sincere utterance on earth 
expressive of deeply religious faith, in spirit and in 
truth, it was in this address. And at this time 
not only President Lincoln, but an extraordinary 
number of people were inspired by a deeply earnest 
faith and feelings which few can now realise. Men 
who had never known serious or elevated thoughts 
before, now became fanatical. The death of relatives 
in the war, the enormous outrages inflicted by the 
rebels on prisoners, the system of terrorism and cruelty 
which they advocated, had produced on the Northern 
mind feelings once foreign to it, and they were now 
resolved to go on, " in God's name, and for this cause," 
to the bitter end. With the feeling of duty to 
God and the Constitution and the Union, scores on 
scores of thousands of men laid down their lives on 
the battle-field. And it was characteristic of the 
South that, having from the beginning all the means 
at their command of cajoling, managing, and ruling 
the North, as easily as ever a shepherd managed 
sheep, they, with most exemplary arrogance, took 
precisely the course to provoke all its resistance. 
Soldiers who had not these earnest feelings generally 



Northern Sentiment. 2n 

turned into bounty-jumpers — men who took the pre- 
mium for enlisting, and deserted to enhst again — or 
else into marauders or stragglers. But the great mass 
were animated by firm enthusiasm. I have been in 
several countries during wild times, and have seen in a 
French revolution courage amounting to delirium, but 
never have I seen anything like the zeal which burned 
in every Union heart during the last two years of the 
war of Emancipation. 

On the 6th March, 1865, Mr. Fessenden, the 
Secretary of the Treasury, voluntarily resigned, and 
Mr. Hugh M'Culloch was appointed in his place. 
This was the only change in the Cabinet. On the 
nth March, the President issued a proclamation, 
pardoning all deserters from the army, on condition 
that they would at once return to duty. This had 
the effect of bringing in several thousands, who 
materially aided the draft for 300,000, which was 
begun on the 15th March, 1865. 

And now the Southern Confederacy was rapidly 
hurrying down a darkening road to ruin — nor was it 
even destined to perish with honour, and true to its 
main principle ; for, in their agony, its leaders even 
looked to the despised negro for help. It was pro- 
posed to the rebel Congress — and the measure was 
defeated by only one vote — that every negro who 
would fight for the Confederacy should be set free ; 
which amounted, as Raymond declares, and as many 



212 Life of Abraham Lincoln, 

rebels admitted, to a practical abandonment of those 
ideas of slavery for whose supremacy the rebellion 
had been set on foot. Of this proposition President 
Lincoln said — " I have in my life heard many argu- 
ments why the negroes ought to be slaves, but if they 
will fight for those who would keep them in slavery, 
it will be a better argument than any I have yet 
heard. He who would fight for that, ought to be a 
slave." 

The beginning of the end was now approaching. 
Early in February, Grant advanced in person with 
four corps, with the object of establishing his position 
near the Weldon road. After several days' fighting, 
the Union forces were in a position four miles in 
advance. On the 25th March, 1865, the rebels 
desperately assaulted and captured Fort Stedman, a 
very important position near Petersburg ; but the 
Union reserves speedily retook it. General Grant 
was now afraid lest Lee should escape, " and combine 
with Johnston, in which case a long campaign, con- 
suming most of the summer, might become necessary." 

On the 30th March, 1865, Grant attacked Lee, 
"with the army of the Potomac, in front, while the 
army of the James forced the enemy's right flank, and 
Sheridan, with a large cavalry force, distracting Lee's 
attention by a blow at the junction of the South-side, 
Richmond, and Danville railroads, suddenly wheeled, 
struck the South-side railroad within ten miles of 



The Last Battle. 213 

Petersburg, and, tearing it up as he went, fell upon 
the rebel left flank." During this time, and the four 
days which ensued, there was much resolute and 
brilliant strategy, desperate and rapid flanking, hard 
fighting, and personal heroism. It was the perfection 
of war, and it was well done by both adversaries. 
Now Petersburg was completely at the mercy of the 
national armies. During the tremendous cannonading 
of Saturday night, April ist, 1865, Lee, in dire need, 
called for Longstreet to aid him. " Then," in the 
words of Arnold, " the bells of Richmond tolled, and 
the drums beat, calling militia, citizens, clerks, every- 
body who could carry arms, to man the lines from 
which Longstreet's troops were retiring." At early 
dawn on Sunday, April 2nd, 1865, Grant ordered a 
general assault along the entire line, and this, the last 
grand charge of the war, carried everything decisively 
before it. Away the rebel lines rushed in full retreat. 
At eleven a.m. of that eventful Sunday, Jeflerson 
Davis, in church, received a despatch from Lee, saying 
Petersburg and Richmond could no longer be held. 
He ran in haste from church, and left the city by the 
Danville railroad. During the night, Richmond and 
Petersburg were both evacuated, the rebels first setting 
fire to the principal buildings in Richmond, being 
urged by the desperate intention of making another 
Moscow of their last city. The flames were, with 
difficulty, put out by Weitzel's cavalry. His regiment 



214 ^if^ of Abraham Lincoln. 

of black troops was the first to enter the stronghold 
of slavery, its band playing " John Brown's Body." 

Lee, who had lost 18,000 prisoners and 10,000 in 
killed and wounded, or half his force, fled with the 
remainder, in the utmost disorder, toward Lynchburg. 
But he had not the merciful Meade in command after 
him this time, but a man of blood and iron, " who was 
determined then and there to make an end of 
it." " Grant's object," says Raymond, " in the whole 
campaign, had been, not Richmond, but Lee's army ; 
for that he pushed forward, regardless of the captured 
cities which lay behind him, showing himself as 
relentless in pursuit as he had been undaunted in 
attack." 1 

President Lincoln immediately went to the front 
and to Richmond the day after it was taken. He 
entered quietly without a military guard, accompanied 
only by his son. Admiral Porter, and the sailors who 
had rowed him up. But the negroes soon found out 
that he was there, and came rushing, with wild cries 
of delight, to welcome him. This scene has been 
described as inexpressibly touching. The poor 
creatures, now knowing, for the first time, that they 
were really free, came, their eyes streaming with tears, 
weeping aloud for joy, shouting or dancing with 



1 It should be said that Meade, under Grant's orders, was, however, 
now one of Lee's most vigorous pursuers. 



His Visit to Richmond. 215 

delight, and crying, without exception, in long chorus, 
** Glory, glory, glory to God!" These people, who 
had acquired, as it were, in an instant that freedom 
which they prized far above wealth, or aught else on 
earth, found only in religious enthusiasm vent for 
their feelings. 

It was at Grant's suggestion that President Lincoln 
had so promptly visited Richmond, to which he again 
returned on April 6th, 1865. Meanwhile, the entire 
North and West was in a frenzy of delight. Those who 
can recall it will always speak of it as such an outburst 
of joyful excitement as they can hardly expect to take 
part in again. Cannon roared and bells were rung 
from the Atlantic to the Pacific ; drums beat and 
trumpets sounded, no longer for war, but for gladness 
of peace. There was such gratulation and hurrah- 
ing for happiness, and such kindly greeting among 
strangers, that it seemed as if all the world were one 
family at a merry-making. And, in every family, 
relatives and friends began to get ready for husbands, 
fathers, brothers, sons, or lovers, for all knew that, in 
a few days, more than a million of Union soldiers 
would return home. For, at last, the war was over. 
The four years of sorrow and suspense were at an end. 

Meanwhile, Grant was hunting Lee with headlong 
haste. The rebel army was cut off from its supplies 
and starving, its cattle falling dead, " its men falling 
out of the ranks by thousands, from hunger and 



2i6 Life of Abraham Lincoln, 

fatigue." Fighting desperately, flanked at every turn, 
on April 6th, 1865, Lee was overtaken by Sheridan 
and Meade at Deatonville, and met with a crushing 
defeat. On Sunday, April 9th, 1865, he was com- 
pelled to surrender to Grant on terms which, as 
Arnold rightly states, were very liberal, magnanimous, 
and generous. The whole of Lee's army were allowed 
to return home on condition that they would not take 
up arms again against the United States — not a 
difficult condition for an enemy which made no 
scruple of immediately putting its paroled men into 
the field, without regard to pledge or promise, as had 
happened with the 37,000 Vicksburg prisoners. This 
stipulation gave much dissatisfaction to the Union 
army. On the 26th April, 1865, General Johnston 
surrendered his army to Sherman, not before the 
latter had blundered sadly in offering terms on 
conditions which were entirely beyond his powers to 
grant. Johnston finally obtained the same conditions 
as Lee. The other rebel forces soon yielded — General 
Howell Cobb surrendering to General Wilson in 
Georgia, on the 20th April ; Dick Taylor surrendering 
all the forces west of the Mississippi to General Canby, 
to whom General Kirby Smith also surrendered on 
May 26th. On the nth day of May, Jefferson Davis, 
flying in terror towards the sea, was captured at 
Irwinsville, Georgia, by the 4th Michigan Regiment. 
He was attired at the time as a woman, wearing his 



Jefferson Davis Captured, 217 

wife's waterproof cloak, and with a woman's shawl 
drawn over his head. Those who captured him say- 
he was carrying a water-bucket. A rebel officer who 
was with him admits that he was in a loose wrapper, 
and that a Miss Howell fastened the shawl on to 
disguise him, but declares he was followed by a 
servant with a bucket.^ It has been vigorously 
denied that Davis was thus disguised as a woman ; 
but the affidavit of the colonel who captured him, 
and the clumsy attempt of the rebel officer to 
establish the contrary, effectually prove it. On the 
4th October, 1864, Mr. Davis, speaking of "the 
Yankees," declared that "the only way to make 
spaniels civil is to whip them." A few months only 
had elapsed, and this man who spoke of Northerners 
as of dogs, was caught by them running away as an 
old woman with a tin pail. This was the end of the 
Great Rebellion. 

Mr. Raymond declares that "the people had been 
borne on the top of a lofty wave of joy ever since 
Sheridan's victory ; and the news of Lee's surrender, 
with Lincoln's return to Washington, intensified the 
universal exultation." On the loth April, 1865, an 
immense crowd assembled at the White House, which 
was illuminated, as " the whole city also was a-blaze 

1 Vide Frank Moore's "Rebellion Record," 1864-5 — Rumours and 
Incidents, p. 9. 



2i8 Life of Abraham Lincoln, 

with bonfires and waving with flags." And on this 
occasion, so inspired with joy soon to be turned to 
the deepest grief which ever fell on the nation, Lincoln 
delivered his last address. Hitherto he had always 
spoken with hope, but never without pain ; after he 
had for once lifted his voice in joy he never spoke 
again. In this address he did not exult over the 
fallen, but discussed the best method of reconstruc- 
tion, or how to bring the revolted states again into 
the Union as speedily and as kindly as possible. 

No time was lost in relieving the nation from the 
annoyances attendant on war. Between the nth 
April, 1865, and the 15th, proclamations were issued, 
declaring all drafting and recruiting to be stopped, 
with all purchases of arms and supplies, removing all 
military restrictions upon trade and commerce, and 
opening the blockaded ports. The promptness with 
which the army returned to peaceful pursuits was, 
considering its magnitude, unprecedented in history. 
The grand army mustered over 1,200,000 men. The 
population of the twenty-three loyal states, including 
Missouri, Kentucky, and Maryland — which latter state 
furnished soldiers for both sides, from a population 
of 3,025,745 — was 22,046,472, and this supplied 
the aggregate, reduced to a three years' standard, 
of 2,129,041 men, or fourteen and a-half per cent. 
of the whole population. Ninety-six thousand 
and eighty-nine died from wounds, 184,331 from 



Cost of the War, 219 

disease— total, 280,420 — the actual number being 
more. The cost of the war to the United States was 
3,098,233,078 dollars, while the States expended in 
bounties, or premiums to recruits, 500,000,000 dollars. 
The blacks furnished their fair proportion of soldiers, 
and, if suffering and death be a test of courage, a 
much greater proportion of bravery than the whites, 
as of 178,975 black troops, 6Z,\']^ perished. 

Mr. Lincoln's last speech was entirely devoted to a 
kind consideration of the means by which he might 
restore their privileges to the rebels ; and his last story 
was a kindly excuse for letting one escape. It was 
known that Jacob Thompson, a notorious Confederate, 
meant to escape in disguise. The President, as usual, 
was disposed to be merciful, and to permit the arch- 
rebel to pass unmolested, but his Secretary urged that 
he should be arrested as a traitor. " By permitting 
him to escape the penalties of treason," remarked the 
Secretary, "you sanction it." "Well," replied Mr. 
Lincoln, "that puts me in mind of a little story. 
There was an Irish soldier last summer who stopped 
at a chemist's, where he saw a soda-fountain. ' Misther 
Doctor,' he said, 'give me, plase, a glass ov soda- 
wather — and if ye can put in a few drops of whiskey 
unbeknown to anyone, I'll be obleeged till yees.' 
Now," continued Mr. Lincoln, "if Jake Thompson is 
permitted to go away unknown to anyone, where's 
the harm ? Dont have him arrested." 



220 Life of Abraham Lincoln, ^ 

And now the end was drawing near. As the taper 
which has burned almost away flashes upwards, as if it 
would cast its fire-life to heaven, so Abraham Lincoln, 
when his heart was for once, and once only, glad and 
light, perished suddenly. During the whole war 
he had been hearing from many sources that his life 
was threatened. There were always forming, in the 
South, Devoted Bands and Brotherhoods of Death, 
sanctioned by the Confederate Congress, whose object 
was simply arson, robbery, and murder in the 
North. Many have forgotten, but I have not, what 
appeared in the rebel newspapers of those days, or 
with what the detective police of the North were con- 
tinually busy. The deeds of Beal and Kennedy,^ 
men holding commissions from the authorities of 
Richmond for the purpose, showed that a government 
could stoop to attempt to burn hundreds of women 
and children alive, and throw railway trains full of 
peaceable citizens off the track. It is to the credit of 
the North that, in their desire for reconciliation, the 
question as to who were the instigators and authorisers 
of Lincoln's death was never pushed very far. The 
world was satisfied with being told that the murderer 
was a crazy actor, and the rebels eagerly caught at 
the idea. But years have now passed, and it is time 
that the truth should be known. As Dr. Brockett 

^ See "Trial and Sentence of Beal and Kennedy," MTherson's 
'* Political History," pp. 552, 553. 



Plots against His Life. 221 

declares, a plot, the extent and ramifications of which 
have never yet been fully made known, had long been 
formed to assassinate the President and the prominent 
members of the Cabinet. " Originating in the Con- 
federate Government, this act, with others, such as the 
attempt to fire New York, . . . was confided to an 
association of army officers, who, when sent on these 
errands, were said to be on ' detached service.' " 
There is direct proof of Booth's actual consultation 
with officers known to belong to this organisation, 
during Lee's retreat from Gettysburg. The assassina- 
tion of the President was a thing so commonly talked 
of in the South as to excite no surprise. A reward 
was actually offered in one of the Southern papers for 
"the murder of the President, Vice-President, and 
Secretary Seward." Now when such an offer is 
followed by such an attempt, few persons would deny 
the connection. It is true that there were, even 
among the most zealous Union-men at this time, 
some whose desire to acquire political influence in the 
South, and be regarded as conciliators, was so great, 
that they hastened to protest, as zealously as any 
rebels, that the Confederate Government had no know- 
ledge of the plot. Perhaps from the depths of Mr. 
Jefferson Davis's inner conscience there may yet come 
forth some tardy avowal of the truth. When that 
gentleman was arrested, he protested that he had 
done nothing for which he could be punished ; but 



222 Life of Abraham Lincoln. 

when he heard, in answer, that he might be held 
accountable for complicity in the murder of President 
Lincoln, he was silent and seemed alarmed. But the 
almost conclusive proof that the murder was carried 
out under the sanction and influence of high authori- 
ties, may be found in the great number of people who 
were engaged in it, and the utter absence among 
them of those guiding minds which invariably direct 
conspiracies. When on one night a great number of 
hotels were fired in New York, the Copperhead press 
declared that it was done by thieves. But the Fire 
Marshal of Philadelphia, who was an old detective, 
said that common incendiaries like burglars never 
worked in large parties. It was directed by higher 
authority. Everything in the murder of President 
Lincoln indicated that the assassin and his accom- 
plices were tools in stronger hands. The rebellion 
had failed, but the last blow of revenge was struck 
with unerring Southern vindictiveness. After all, as 
a question of mere morality, the exploits of Beal and 
Kennedy show that the Confederate Government had 
authorised deeds a hundred times more detestable 
than the simple murder of President Lincoln. Politi- 
cal enthusiasm might have induced thousands to 
regard Lincoln as a tyrant and Booth as a Brutus ; 
but the most fervent madness of faction can never 
apologise for burning women and children alive, or 
killing them on railways. 



John Wilkes Booth. 223 

It was on Good Friday, the 14th of April, the 
anniversary of Major Anderson's evacuation of Fort 
Sumter, '* the opening scene of the terrible four years' 
civil war," that President Lincoln was murdered while 
sitting in a box at a theatre in Washington. The 
assassin, John Wilkes Booth, was the son of the cele- 
brated actor. He was twenty-seven years of age, and 
utterly dissipated and eccentric. He was a thorough 
rebel, and had often exhibited a nickel bullet with 
which he declared he meant to shoot Lincoln, but his 
wild and unsteady character had prevented those who 
heard the threats from attaching importance to them. 
It had been advertised that President Lincoln and 
many prominent men would be present at a perform- 
ance. General Grant, who was to have been of their 
number, had left that afternoon for Philadelphia. 
During the day, the assassin and his accomplices, who 
were all perfectly familiar with the theatre, had care- 
fully made every preparation for the murder. The 
entrance to the President's box was commanded by a 
door, and in order to close this, a piece of wood was 
provided, which would brace against it so firmly that 
no one could enter. In order to obtain admission, 
the spring-locks of the doors were weakened by 
partially withdrawing the screws ; so that, even if 
locked, they could present no resistance. Many other 
details were most carefully arranged, including those 
for Booth's escape. He had hired a fine horse, and 



224 Life of Abraham Lincoln, 

employed one Spangler, the stage carpenter, to watch 
it. This man had also prepared the scenes so that 
he could readily reach the door. In the afternoon he 
called on Vice-President Johnson, sending up his 
card, but was denied admission, as that gentleman 
was busy. It is supposed to have been an act intended 
to cast suspicion upon Mr. Johnson, who would be 
Lincoln's successor. At seven o'clock, Booth, with 
five of his accomplices, entered a saloon, where they 
drank together in such a manner as to attract atten- 
tion. All was ready. 

President Lincoln had, during the day, held inter- 
views with many distinguished men, and discussed 
great measures. He had consulted with Colfax, the 
Speaker of the House, as to his future policy towards 
the South, and had seen the Minister to Spain, with 
several senators. At eleven o'clock he had met the 
Cabinet and General Grant, and held a most important 
conference. "When it adjourned, Secretary Stanton 
said he felt that the Government was stronger than it 
had ever been ;" and after this meeting he again con- 
versed with Mr. Colfax and several leading citizens of 
his own state. His last remarks in reference to public 
affairs expressed an interest in the development of 
California, and he promised to send a telegram in 
reference to it to Mr. Colfax when he should be 
in San Francisco. As I have, however, stated 
with reference to Jacob Thompson, his own last 



The Murder, 225 



act was to save the life, as he supposed, of a rebel, 
while the last act of the rebellion was to take his 
own. 

At nine o'clock, Lincoln and his wife reached the 
crowded theatre, and were received with great 
applause. Then the murderer went to his work. 
Through the crowd in the rear of the dress circle, 
patiently and softly, he made his way to the door 
opening into the dark narrow passage leading to the 
President's box. Here he showed a card to the 
servant in attendance, saying that Mr. Lincoln had 
sent for him, and the man, nothing doubting, admitted 
him. He entered the vestibule, and secured the door 
behind him by bracing against it the piece of board 
already mentioned. He then drew a small silver- 
mounted Derringer pistol, which he held in his right 
hand, having a long double-edged dagger in his left. 
All in the box were absorbed in watching the actors 
on the stage, except President Lincoln, who was 
leaning forward, holding aside the flag-curtain of the 
box with his left hand, with his head slightly turned 
towards the audience. At this instant Booth passed 
by the inner door into the box, and stepping softly 
behind the President, holding the pistol over the 
chair, shot him through the back of the head. The 
ball entered on the left side behind the ear, through 
the brain, and lodged just behind the right eye. 
President Lincoln made no great movement — his head 



226 Life of Abraham Lincoln, 

fell slightly forward, and his eyes closed. He seemed 
stunned. 

As the 'report of the pistol rang through the house, 
many of the audience supposed it was part of some 
new incident introduced into the play. Major Rath- 
bone, who was in the box, saw at once what had 
occurred, and threw himself on Booth, who dropped 
the pistol, and freed himself by stabbing his assailant 
in the arm, near the shoulder. The murderer then 
rushed to the front of the box, and, in a sharp loud 
voice, exclaiming, Sic semper tyrannis — the motto of 
Virginia — leaped on the stage below. As he went 
over, his spur caught in the American flag which Mr. 
Lincoln had grasped, and he fell, breaking his leg; 
but, recovering himself, he rose, brandishing the 
dagger theatrically, and, facing the audience, cried in 
stage-style, " The South is avenged," and rushed from 
the theatre. He pushed Miss Laura Keene, the 
actress, out of his way, ran down a dark passage, 
pursued by Mr. Stewart, sprung to his saddle, and 
escaped. Mrs. Lincoln had fainted, the excited 
audience behaved like lunatics, some attempting to 
climb up the pillars into the box. Through Miss 
Keene's presence of mind, the gas was turned down, 
and the crowd was turned out. And in a minute 
after, the telegraph had shot all over the United 
States the news of the murder. 

The President never spoke again. He was taken 



Mr. Seward Stabbed, 227 

to his home, and died at twenty minutes after seven 
the next morning. He was unconscious from the 
moment he was shot. 

As the vast crowd, mad with grief, poured forth, 
weeping and lamenting, they met with another multi- 
tude bringing the news that Secretary Seward, lying 
on his sick-bed, had been nearly murdered. A few 
days before, he had fractured his arm and jaw by 
falling from a carriage. While in this condition, an 
accomplice of Booth's, named John Payne Powell, 
tried to enter the room, but was repulsed by Mr. 
Seward's son, who was at once knocked down with 
the butt of a pistol. Rushing into the room, Payne 
Powell stabbed Mr. Seward three times, and escaped, 
but not before he had wounded, while fighting 
desperately, five people in all. 

During the night, there was fearful excitement in 
Washington. Rumours were abroad that the Pre- 
sident was murdered — that all the members of the 
Cabinet had perished, or were wounded — that General 
Grant had barely escaped with his life — that the 
rebels had risen, and were seizing on Washington — 
and that all was confusion. The reality was enough 
to warrant any degree of doubt and terror. There 
had been, indeed, a conspiracy to murder all the 
leading members of Government. General Grant 
had escaped by going to Philadelphia. It is said 
that this most immovable of men, when he heard 



228 Life of Abraham Lincoln, 

that President Lincoln was dead, gravely took the 
cigar from his mouth and quietly said, "Then I 
must go at once to Washington. I shall yet have 
time to take my family to Bordertown, and catch the 
eleven o'clock train." 

Efforts have been made by both parties to confine 
all the guilt of this murder to Booth alone, and to 
speak of him as a half-crazed lunatic actor. As the 
facts stand, the murder had long been threatened 
by the Southern press, and was apprehended by 
many people. Booth had so many accomplices, that 
they expected between them to kill the President, 
Vice-President, and all the Cabinet. And yet, with 
every evidence of a widespread conspiracy which had 
numbers of ready and shrewd agents in the theatre, 
on the road, and far and wide, even the most zealous 
Union writers have declared that all this plot had its 
beginning and end in the brain of a lunatic ! It so 
happened that, just at this time, the North, weary of 
war and willing to pardon every enemy, had no desire 
to be vindictive. When Jefferson Davis was tried, 
Mr. Greeley eagerly stepped forward to be his bail, 
and there were many more looking to reconstruction 
and reconciliation — or to office — and averse to drive 
the foe to extremes. Perhaps they were right ; for in 
great emergencies minor interests must be forgotten. 
It was the Union-men and the victors who were now 
nobly calling for peace at any price and forgiveness. 



Plan of the Mttrder,. 229 

But one thing is at least certain. From a letter found 
April 15th, 1865, in Booth's trunk, it was shown that 
the murder was planned before the 4th of March, but 
fell through then because the accomplices refused to 
go further imtil Riclimond could be heard from. So it 
appears that, though Booth was regarded as the 
beginning and end of the plot, and solely accountable, 
yet his tools actually refused to obey him until they 
had heard from Richmond, the seat of the Rebel 
Government. This was written by Secretary Stanton 
to General Dix on April 15th, in the interval between 
the attack on Lincoln and his death. The entire 
execution of the plot evidently depended upon news 
from Richmond, and not upon Booth's orders. 

Booth himself, escaping across the Potomac, " found, 
for some days, shelter and aid among the rebel 
sympathisers of Lower Maryland." He was, of 
course, pursued, and, having taken refuge in a barn, 
was summoned to surrender. This he refused to do, 
and was then shot dead by a soldier named Boston 
Corbett, whom I have heard described as a fanatic 
of the old Puritan stamp. In the words of Arnold, 
Booth did not live to betray the men who set him on. 
And I can testify that there was nowhere much desire 
to push the inquiry too far. Booth had been shot, the 
leading Union politicians were busy at reconstruction, 
and the war was at an end. But, as Arnold declares, 
Booth and his accomplices were but the wretched 



230 Life of Abraham Lmcohi, 

tools of the real conspirators, and it remains uncertain 
whether the conspirators themselves will ever in this 
world be dragged to light. 

The next day, April 15th, 1865, the whole nation 
knew the dreadful news, and there was such universal 
sadness as had never been known within the memory 
of man. All was gloom and mourning ; men walked 
in the public places, and wept aloud as if they had 
been alone ; women sat with children on the steps of 
houses, wailing and sobbing. Strangers stopped to 
converse and cry. I saw in that day more of the 
human heart than in all the rest of my life. I saw in 
Philadelphia a great mob surging idly here and there 
between madness and grief, not knowing what to do. 
Somebody suggested that the Copperheads were 
rejoicing over the murder — as they indeed were — and 
so the mob attacked their houses, but soon gave 
it over, out of very despondency. By common 
sympathy, every family began to dress their houses in 
mourning, and to hang black stuff in all the public 
places ; " before night, the whole nation was shrouded 
in black." That day I went from Philadelphia to 
Pittsburg. This latter town, owing to its factories 
and immense consumption of bituminous coal, seems 
at any time as if in mourning ; but on that Sunday 
afternoon, completely swathed and hung in black, with 
all the world weeping in a drizzling rain, its dolefulness 
was beyond description. Among the soldiers, the 



Public Grief, 231 



grief was very great ; but with the poor negroes, it 
was absolute — I may say that to them the murder 
was in reahty a second crucifixion, since, in their 
rehgious enthusiasm, they literally believed the Pre- 
sident to be a Saviour appointed by God to lead them 
forth to freedom. To this day there are negro huts, 
especially in Cuba, where Lincoln's portrait is pre- 
serv^ed as a hidden fetish, and as the picture of the 
Great Prophet who was no* killed, but only taken 
away, and who will come again, like King Arthur, to 
lead his people to liberty. At Lincoln's funeral, the 
weeping of the coloured folk was very touching. 

It was proposed that President Lincoln should be 
buried in the vault originally constructed for Washing- 
ton in the Capitol. This would have been most 
appropriate,; but the representatives from Illinois 
were very urgent that his remains should be taken to 
his native state, and this was finally done. So, after 
funeral services in Washington, the body was borne 
with sad processions from city to city, through Mary- 
land, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, 
Indiana, and Illinois. At Philadelphia it lay in state 
in the hall where the declaration of Independence had 
been signed. " A half-million of people were in the 
streets to do honour to all that was left of him who, 
in that same hall, had declared, four years before, that 
he would sooner be assassinated than give up the 
principles of the Declaration of Independence. PI3 



232 Ltfe of Abraham Lincoht, 

had been assassinated because he would not give 
them up." 

This death-journey, with its incidents, was very- 
touching. It showed beyond all question that, during 
his Presidency, the Illinois backwoodsman had found 
his way to the hearts of the people as no man had 
ever done. He had been with them in their sorrows 
and their joys. Those who had wept in the family 
circle for a son or father lost in the war, now wept 
again the more because the great chief had also 
perished. The last victim of the war was its leader. 

The final interment of the body of President 
Lincoln took place at Oak Ridge Cemetery, in 
Springfield, Illinois. Four years previously, Abraham 
Lincoln had left a little humble home in that place, and 
gone to be tried by the people in such a great national 
crisis as seldom falls to any man to meet. He had 
indeed "crossed Fox River" in such a turmoil of 
roaring waters as had never been dreamed of. And, 
having done all things wisely and well, he passed 
away with the war, dying with its last murmurs. 



CHAPTER XIII. 

President Lin join's Characteristics — His l!ove of Humour— His Stories — 
Pithy Sayings — Repartees — His Dignity. 

WHATEVER the defects of Lincoln's character 
were, it may be doubted whether there was ever 
so great a man who was, on the whole, so good, 
Compared to his better qualities, these faults were as 
nothing ; yet they came forth so boldly, owing to the 
natural candour and manliness on which they grew, 
that, to petty minds, they obscured what was grand 
and beautiful. It has been very truly said, that he 
was the most remarkable product of the remarkable 
possibilities of American lite. Born to extreme 
poverty, and with fewer opportunities for culture than 
are open to any British peasant, he succeeded, by 
sheer perseverance and determination, in making 
himself a land-surveyor, a lawyer, a politician, and a 
President. And it is not less evident that even his 
honesty was the result of will, though his kind- 
heartedness came by nature. What was most remark- 
able in him was his thorough Republicanism. He 
was so completely inspired with a sense that the 



234 Life of Abrahain Lincoln. 

opinions and interests common to the community are 
right, that to his mind common sense assumed its 
deepest meaning as a rule of the highest justice. 
When the whole land was a storm of warring elements, 
and in the strife between States' Rights and National 
Supremacy all precedents were forgotten and every 
man made his own law, then Abraham Lincoln, 
watching events, and guided by what he felt was 
really the sense of the people, sometimes leading, but 
always following when he could, achieved Eman- 
cipation, and brought a tremendous civil war to a 
quiet end. 

Abraham Lincoln was remarkably free from jealousy 
or personal hatred. His honesty in all things, great 
or small, was most exemplary. In appointing men, 
he was more guided by the interests of the country or 
their fitness than by any other consideration, and 
avoided favouritism to such an extent that it was 
once said, in reference to him, that honesty was 
undoubtedly good policy, but it was hard that an 
American citizen should be excluded from office 
because he had, unfortunately, at some time been a 
friend of the President. Owing to this principle, he 
was often accused of ingratitude, heartlessness, or 
indifference. Mr. Lincoln had a quick perception of 
character, and liked to give men credit for what they 
understood. Once, when his opinion was asked as to 
politics, he said, "You must ask Raymond about 



His Love of Humour. 235 

that ; in politics, he is my heutenant-general."^ The 
manner in which Lincoln became gradually appre- 
ciated was well expressed in the London " Saturday 
Review," after his death, when it said that, "during 
the arduous experience of four years, Mr. Lincoln 
constantly rose in general estimation by calmness of 
temper, by an intuitively logical appreciation of the 
character of the conflict, and by undisputed sincerity." 
Mr. Lincoln was habitually very melancholy, and, as 
is often the case, sought for a proper balance of mind 
in the humour of which he had such a rare apprecia- 
tion. When he had a great duty on hand, he would 
prepare his mind for it by reading " something funny." 
As I write this, I am kindly supplied with an admir- 
able illustration by Mr. Bret Harte. One evening 
the President, who had summoned his Cabinet at a 
most critical juncture, instead of proceeding to any 
business, passed half-an-hour in reading to them the 
comic papers of Orpheus C. Kerr (office-seeker), which 
had just appeared. But at last, when more than one 
gentleman was little less than offended at such levity, 
Mr. Lincoln rose, laid aside the book, and, with a 
most serious air, as of one who has brought his mind 
to a great point, produced and read the slips contain- 
ing the Proclamation of Emancipation, and this he 
did with an earnestness and feeling which were 

1 The late Henry J. Raymond, then editor of the New York 
"Times." 



236 Life of Abraham Lincoln, 

electric, moving his auditors as they had seldom been 
moved. By far the best work of humour produced 
during the war, if it be not indeed the best work of 
purely American huitiour ever written, was the Petro- 
leum V. Nasby papers. F. B. Carpenter relates that, 
on the Saturday before the President left Washing- 
ton to go to Richmond, he had a most wearisome day, 
followed by an interview with several callers on busi- 
ness of great importance. Pushing everything aside, 
he said — " Have you seen the ' Nasby Papers' t " " No, 
I have not," was the answer; "what are they.?" 
** There is a chap out in Ohio," returned the President, 
" who has been writing a series of letters in the news- 
papers over the signature of Petroleum V. Nasby. 
Some one sent me a collection of them the other day. 
I am going to write to Petroleum to come down here, 
andl intend to tell him, if he will communicate his 
talent to me, I will swap places with him." There- 
upon he arose, went to a drawer in his desk, and 
taking out the letters, he sat down and read one to 
the company, finding in their enjoyment of it the 
temporary excitement and relief which another man 
would have found in a glass of wine. The moment 
he ceased, the book was thrown aside, his countenance 
relapsed into its habitual serious expression, and 
business was entered upon with the utmost earnest- 
ness. The author of these " Nasby Papers " was 
David R. Locke. After Mr. Lincoln's death, two comic 



Favourite Books, 237 

works, both well thumbed, indicating that they had 
been much read, were found in his desk. One was 
the "Nasby Letters," and the other "The Book of 
Copperheads," written and illustrated by myself and 
my brother, the late Henry P. Leland. This was 
kindly lent to me by Mr. MTherson, Clerk of the 
House of Representatives, that I might see how 
thoroughly Mr. Lincoln had read it. Both of these 
works were satires on that party in the North which 
sympathised with the South. 

Men of much reading, and with a varied knowledge 
of life, especially if their minds have somewhat of 
critical culture, draw their materials for illustration in 
conversation from many sources. Abraham Lincoln's 
education and reading were not such as to supply him 
with much unworn or refined literary illustration, so 
he used such material as he had — incidents and stories 
from the homely life of the West. I have observed 
that, in Europe, Scotchmen approach most nearly to 
Americans in this practical application of events and 
anecdotes. Lincoln excelled in the art of putting 
things aptly and concisely, and, like many old Romans, 
would place his whole argument in a brief droll 
narrative, the point of which would render his whole 
meaning clear to the dullest intellect. In their way, 
these were like the illustrated proverbs known as 
fables. Menenius Agrippa and Lincoln would have 
been congenial spirits. However coarse or humble 



2sS Life of Abraham Lmcolfi, 

the illustration might be, Mr. Lincoln never failed to 
convince even the most practised diplomatists or 
lawyers that he had a marvellous gift for grasping 
rapidly all the details of a difficulty, and for reducing 
this knowledge to a practical deduction, and, finally, 
for presenting the result in a concisely humorous 
illustration which impressed it on the memory. 

Mr. Lincoln was in a peculiar way an original 
thinker, without being entirely an originator, as a 
creative genius is. His stories were seldom or never 
his own inventions ; hundreds of them were well 
known, but, in the words of Dr. Thompson, "however 
common his ideas were to other minds, however 
simple when stated, they bore the stamp of indi- 
viduality, and became in some way his own." During 
his life, and within a few months after his death, I 
made a large MS. collection of Lincolniana. Few of 
the stories were altogether new, but most were 
original in application. It is said that, being asked if 
a very stingy neighbour of his was a man of means, 
Mr. Lincoln replied that he ought to be, for he was 
about the meanest man round there. This may or 
may not be authentic, but it is eminently Lincolnian. 
So with the jests of Tyll Eulenspiegel, or of any other 
great droll ; he invariably becomes the nucleus of a 
certain kind of humour. 

Unconsciously, Abraham Lincoln became a great 
proverbialist. Scores of his pithy sayings are current 



His Pithy Sayings, 239 

amo'ng the people. "In giving freedom to the slave, 
we assure freedom to the free," is the sum-total of all 
the policy which urged Emancipation for the sake of 
the white man. " This struggle of to-day is for a vast 
future also," expressed a great popular opinion. " We 
are making history rapidly," was very flattering to all 
who shared in the war. " If slavery is not wrong, 
notJiing is wrong," spoke the very extreme of convic- 
tion. The whole people took his witty caution " not 
to swap horses in the middle of a stream." When it 
was always urged by the Democrats that erfiancipa- 
tion implied amalgamation, he answered — " I do not 
understand that because I do not want a 'hegro 
woman for a slave, I must necessarily want her for a 
wife." This popular Democratic shibboleth, " How 
would you like your daughter to marry a negro V was 
keenly satirised by Nasby. I have myself known a 
Democratic procession in Philadelphia to contain a 
car with a parcel of girls dressed in white, and the 
motto, " Fathers, protect us from Black Husbands." 
To which the Republican banner simply replied, ''Our 
Daughters do not want to marry Black Husbands." 

Abraham Lincoln was always moderate in argu- 
ment. Once, when Judge Douglas attempted to 
parry an argument by impeaching the veracity of a 
senator whom Mr. Lincoln had quoted, he answered 
that the question was not one of veracity, but simply 
one of argument. He said — " Euclid, by a course 0/ 



240 Life of Abraham Liiicoln, 

reasoning, proves that all the angles in a triangle are 
equal to two right angles ; now, would you undertake 
to disprove that assertion by calling Euclid a liar?" 

" I never did invent anything original — I am only a 
retail dealerl' is very characteristic of Mr. Lincoln. 
He was speaking of the stories credited to him, and 
yet the modesty of the remark, coupled with the droll 
distinction between original wholesale manufacturers 
and retail dealers, is both original and quaint. 

Mr. Lincoln was very ingenious in finding reasons 
for being merciful. On one occasion, a young soldier 
who had shown himself very brave in war, and had 
been severely wounded, after a time deserted. Being 
re-captured, he was under sentence of death, and Pre- 
sident Lincoln was of course petitioned for his pardon. 
It was a difficult case ; the young man deserved to 
die, and desertion was sadly injuring the army. The 
President mused solemnly, until a happy thought 
struck him. " Did you say he was once badly 
wounded.''" he asked of the applicant for a pardon. 
" He was." "Then, as the Scripture says that in the 
shedding of blood is the remission of sins, I guess 
we'll have to let him off this time." 

When Mr. Lincoln was grossly and foolishly flat- 
tered, as happened once in the case of a gushing 
"interviewer," who naively put his own punishment 
into print, he could quiz the flatterer with great 
ingenuity by apparently falling into the victim's 



Repartees. 241 



humour. When only moderately praised, he retorted 
gently. Once, when a gentleman complimented him on 
having no vices, such as drinking or smoking, " That 
is a doubtful compliment," answered Mr. Lincoln. 
" I recollect once being outside a stage-coach in 
Illinois, when a man offered me a cigar. I told him I 
had no vices. He said nothing, but smoked for some 
time, and then growled out, * It's my opinion that 
people who have no vices have plaguy few virtues." 

President Lincoln was not merely obliging or con- 
descending in allowing every one to see him ; in his 
simple Republicanism, he believed that the people 
who had made him President had a right to talk to 
him. One day a friend found him half-amused, half- 
irritated. " You met an old lady as you entered," he 
said. " Well, she wanted me to give her an order for 
stopping the pay of a Treasury clerk who owes her a 
board-bill of seventy dollars." His visitor expressed 
surprise that he did not adopt the usual military 
plan, under which every application to see the general 
commanding had to be filtered through a sieve of 
officers, who allowed no one to take up the chief's 
time except those who had business of sufficient 
importance. "Ah yes," the President replied, " such 
things may do very well for you military people, with 
your arbitrary rule. But the office of a President is a 
very different one, and the affair is very different. 
For myself, I feel, though the tax on my time is 
Q 



242 Life of Abraham Lincoln. 

heavy, that no hours of my day are better employed 
than those which thus bring me again into direct 
contact with the people. All serves to renew in me 
a clearer and more vivid image of that great popular 
assemblage out of which 1 sprung, and to which, at 
the end of two years, I must return." To such an 
extreme did he carry this, and such weariness did it 
cause him, that, at the end of four years, he who had 
been one of the strongest men living, was no longer 
strong or vigorous. But he always had a good- 
natured story, even for his tormentors. Once, when 
a Kentucky farmer wanted him at a critical period of 
the Emancipation question to exert himself and turn 
the whole machinery of government to aid him in 
recovering two slaves. President Lincoln said this 
reminded him of Jack Chase, the captain of a western 
steamboat. It is a terrible thing to steer a boat down 
the roaring rapids, where the mistake of an inch may 
cause wreck, and it requires the extreme attention of 
the pilot. One day, w^hen the boat was plunging and 
wallowing along the boiling current, and Jack at the 
wheel was using all care to keep in the perilous 
channel, a boy pulled his coat-tail and cried, " Say, 
Mister Captain ! I wish you'd stop your boat a minute. 
Fve lost my apple overboard!' 

In self-conscious "deportment," Mr. Lincoln was 
utterly deficient ; in true unconscious dignity^ he w^as 
unsurpassed. He would sit down on the stone- 



His Dignity. 243 



coping outside the White House to write on his card 
the directions by which a poor man might be reheved 
from his sorrow, looking as he did so as if he were 
sitting on the pavement ; or he would actually lie 
down on the grass beside a common soldier, and go 
over his papers with him, while his carriage waited, 
and great men gathered around ; but no man ever 
dared to be impertinent, or unduly familiar with him. 
Once an insolent officer accused him to his face of 
injustice, and he arose, lifted the man by the collar, 
and carried him out, kicking. But this is, I believe, 
the only story extant of any one having treated him 
with insolence. 

Hunting popularity by means of petty benevolence 
is so usual with professional politicians, that many may 
suspect that Lincoln was not unselfish in his acts of 
kindness. But I myself know of one instance of 
charity exercised by him, which was certainly most 
disinterested. One night, a poor old man, whose 
little farm had been laid waste during the war, and 
who had come to Washington, hoping that Govern- 
ment would repay his loss, found himself penniless in 
the streets of the capital. A person whom I know 
very well saw him accost the President, who listened 
to his story, and then, writing something on a piece of 
paper, gave it to him, and with it a ten-dollar note. 
The President went his way, and my acquaintance 
going up to the old man, who was deeply moved, 



244 Life of Abraham Lincoln. 

asked him what was the matter. " I thank God/' 
said the old man, using a quaint American phrase, 
" that there are some white people ^ in this town. I've 
been tryin' to get somebody to listen to me, and 
nobody would, because I'm a poor foolish old body. 
But just now a stranger listened to all my story, and 
give me this here." He said this, showing the money 
and the paper, which contained a request to Secretary 
Stanton to have the old man's claim investigated at 
once, and, if just, promptly satisfied. When it is 
remembered that Lincoln went into office and out of 
it a poor man, or at least a very poor man for one in 
his position, his frequent acts of charity appear doubly 
creditable. 

Whatever may be said of Lincoln, he was always 
simply and truly a good man. He was a good father 
to his children, and a good President to the people, 
whom he loved as if they had been his children, 
America and the rest of the world have had many 
great rulers, but never one who, like Lincoln, was so 
much one of the people, or who was so sympathetic 
in their sorrows and trials. 

1 ** White people "—civilised, decent, kind-hearted people. 



APPENDIX. 



[from the new YORK EVENING POST, AUGUST 16, 1867.] 

HIS LECTURE AT THE COOPER INSTITUTE IN i860. 

To the Editor of The Evening Post : 

In October, 1859, Messrs. Joseph H. Richards, J. M. Pettingill, 
and S. W. Tubbs called on me at the office of the Ohio State 
Agency, 25 William Street, and requested me to write to the Hon. 
Thomas Corwin of Ohio, and the Hon. Abraham Lincoln of Illinois, 
and invite them to lecture in a course of lectures these young gen- 
tlemen proposed for the winter in Plymouth Church, Brooklyn. 

I wrote the letters as requested, and offered as compensation for 
each lecture, as I was authorized, the sum of $200. The proposition 
to lecture was accepted by Messrs. Corwin and Lincoln. Mr. Cor- 
win delivered his lecture in Plymouth Church, as he was on his way 
to Washington to attend Congress ; Mr. Lincoln could not lecture 
until late in the season, and the proposition was agreed to by the 
gentlemen named, and accepted by Mr. Lincoln, as the following 
letter will show : 

** Danville, Illinois, November 13, 1859. 
" James A. Briggs, Esq. 

" Dear Sir : Yours of the ist inst., closing with my proposition for 
compromise, was duly received. I will be on hand, and in due time 
will notify you of the exact day. I believe, after all, I shall make a 
political speech of it. You have no objection ? 



246 Appendix. 



* ' I would like to know in advance, whether I am also to speak in 
New York. 

" Very, very glad your election went right. 

" Yours truly, 

"A. Lincoln. 
" P.S. — I am here at court, but my address is still at Springfield, 
111." 

In due time Mr. Lincoln wrote me that he would deliver the lec- 
ture, a political one, on the evening of the 27th of February, i860. 
This was rather late in the season for a lecture, and the young gentle- 
men who were responsible were doubtful about its success, as the ex- 
penses were large. It was stipulated that the lecture was to be in 
Plymouth Church, Brooklyn ; I requested and urged that the lecture 
should be delivered at the Cooper Institute. They were fearful it 
would not pay expenses — $350. I thought it would. 

In order to relieve Messrs. Richards, Pettingill, and Tubbs of all 
responsibility, I called upon some of the officers of " The Young Men's 
Republican Union," and proposed that they should take Mr. Lincoln, 
and that the lecture should be delivered under their auspices. They 
respectfully declined. 

I next called upon Mr. Simeon Draper, then president of "The 
Draper Republican Union Club of New York," and proposed to him 
that his " Union" take Mr. Lincoln and the lecture, and assume the 
responsibility of the expenses. Mr. Draper and his friends declined, 
and Mr. Lincoln was left on the hands of " the original Jacobs." 

After considerable discussion, it was agreed on the part of the 
young gentlemen that the lecture should be delivered in the Cooper 
Institute, if I would agree to share one-fourth of the expenses, if the 
sale of the tickets (25 cents) for the lecture did not meet the outlay. 
To this I assented, and the lecture was advertised to be delivered in 
the Cooper Institute, on the evening of the 27th of February. 

Mr. Lincoln read the notice of the lecture in the papers, and, with- 
out any knowledge of the arrangement, was somewhat surprised to 
learn that he was first to make his appearance before a New York 
audience, instead of a Plymouth Church audience. A notice of the 
proposed lecture appeared in the New York papers, and the Times 



Appendix. 247 



spoke of him "as a lawyer who had some local reputation in Illi- 
nois." 

At my personal solicitation Mr. William Cullen Bryant pre- 
sided as chairman of the meeting, and introduced Mr. Lincoln for the 
first time to a New York audience. 

The lecture was a wonderful success ; it has become a part of the 
history of the country. Its remarkable ability was everywhere ac- 
knowledged, and after the 27th of February the name of Mr. Lincoln 
was a familiar one to all the people of the East. After Mr. Lincoln 
closed his lecture, Mr. David Dudley Field, Mr. James W. Nye, Mr. 
Horace Greeley, and myself were called out by the audience and 
made short speeches. I remember of saying then, "One of three 
gentlemen will be our standard-bearer in the presidential contest of 
this year : the distinguished Senator of New York, Mr. Seward ; the 
late able and accomplished Governor of Ohio, Mr. Chase ; or the 
' Unknown Knight ' who entered the political lists against the Bois 
Guilbert of Democracy on the prairies of Illinois in 1858, and un- 
horsed him — Abraham Lincoln." Some friends joked me after the 
meeting as not being a " good prophet." The lecture was over — all 
the expenses were paid, and I was handed by the gentlemen inter- 
ested the sum of $4.25 as my share of the profits, as they would have 
called on me if there had been a deficiency in the receipts to meet 
the expenses. 

Immediately after the lecture, Mr. Lincoln went to Exeter, N. H., 
to visit his son Robert, then at school there, and I sent him a check 
for $200. Mr. Tubbs informed me a few weeks ago that after the 
check was paid at the Park Bank he tore it up ; but that he would 
give $200 for the check if it could be restored with the endorse- 
ment of "A. Lincoln," as it was made payable to the order of Mr. 
Lincoln. 

After the return of Mr. Lincoln to New York from the East, 
where he had made several speeches, he said to me, " I have seen 
what all the New York papers said about that thing of mine in the 
Cooper Institute, with the exception of the New York Evening Post, 
and I would like to know what Mr. Bryant thought of it ; " and he 
then added, "It is worth a visit from Springfield, Illinois, to New 
York to make the acquaintance of such a man as William Cullen 



248 Appendix. 



Bryant." At Mr. Lincoln's request, I sent him a copy of the 
Evening Post with a notice of his lecture. 

On returning from Mr. Beecher's Church, on Sunday, in company 
with Mr. Lincoln, as we were passing the post-office, I remarked to 
him, " Mr. Lincoln, I wish you would take particular notice of what 
a dark and dismal place we have here for a post-office, and I do it 
for this reason : I think your chance for being the next President is 
equal to that of any man in the country. When you are President 
will you recommend an appropriation of a million of dollars for a 
suitable location for a post-office in this city ? " With a significant 
gesture Mr. Lincoln remarked, " I will make a note of that." 

On going up Broadway with Mr. Lincoln in the evening, from the 
Astor House, to hear the Rev. Dr. E. H. Chapin, he said to me, 
** When I was East several gentlemen made about the same remarks 
to me that you did to-day about the Presidency ; they thought my 
chances were about equal to the best." 

James A. Briggs. 

N.B. — The writers of Mr. Lincoln's Biography have things con- 
siderably mixed about Mr. Lincoln going to the Five Points Mission 
School, at the Five Points, in New York, that he found his way there 
alone, etc., etc. Mr. I^incoln went there in the afternoon with his 
old friend Hiram Barney, Esq., and after Mr. B. had informed Mr. 
Barlow, the Superintendent, who the stranger with him was, Mr. 
Barlow requested Mr. Lincoln to speak to the children, which he 
did. I met Mr. Lincoln at Mr. Barney's at tea, just after this pleas- 
ant, and to him strange, visit at the Five Points Mission School. 

J. A. B. 



INDEX. 



Abolitionism, 49, 66. 122, 126, 168. 
Alabama, 145, 196. 
Anti-slavery protest, 48, 50, 51 ; re- 
solutions, 59. 

Baldwin, John, the smith, 27. 

Barbarities, 186. 

Black regiment, charge of the, 161. 

Black's (Judge) decision, 93, 

Blockade declared, 108. 

Booth, his plans, 221 ; antecedents, 

223 ; death, 229. 
Border ruffians and outrages, 68, 

69, 71. 
Buchanan, President, 92. 
Bull Run, 113, 114. 
Burnsidc, General, 142, 

Cabinet, treason in the, 92. 
Chancellorsville, battle of, 148. 
Chattanooga, battle of, 164. 
Clay, Henry, 57. 

Compromises of 1826 and 1850, 66. 
Confederate organisation in Europe, 

117; agents in Canada, 197; pro- 

poseils, 205. 
Conspiracies, suspected, 88. 
Copperheads, 96, 179; book of, 237. 
Colonisation of slaves proposed, 123. 
Cost of the v/ar, 219. 

Davis Jefferson, President of 
Confederacy. 94, 109; escape of, 
217. 

" Dred Scott" decision, 73. 

Douglas, Stephen, 47, 67, 69, 70, 74, 
77, 84, no. 

Ellsworth and Winthrop, death 

of, 112. 



Enlistment of coloured troops, X33« 
Exhaustive effects of Northern incuiv 

sions, 185. 

Farragut, Admiral, 194. 
Fox River anecdote, 95. 
Fremont, 73, 169. 

Gettysburg, battle of, 150. 

Gloom of 1864, 179. 

Grant, "Unconditional Surrender," 
137; daring march, 157; succes^ 
sion of victories, 158 ; last battle, 
212 ; chase of Lee, 215. 

Greeley, Horace, 79. 

Hanks, Nancy, 9, 12, 15. 
Hood. General, 188. 
Hooker, General, 187. 
Hicks, Governor, and Maryland, 
107, 108, 

Jackson, death of General Stone- 
wall, 149. 

Johnston, Mrs., Lincoln's second 
mother, 18-20. 

Jones of Gentryville, 26. 

Kansas-Nebraska Bill, 67. 
Kidnapping negroes (note), 67, 

Lecompton Constitution, 74. 

Lincoln, Mordecai and Abraham, 10. 

Lincoln, Thomas, his character, 12; 
his marriage, 15. 

Lincoln, Abraham, his family, 9, 10; 
birth and birth-place, 9; grand- 
father killed by Indians, 11; 
schools, 15; migrations, 16, 30; 
hereditary traits, 13 ; poverty and 



250 



Index, 



privations, 17; education, 20; 
death of his mother, 18 ; acts as 
ferry-man, 25 ; cliaracteristics and 
habits in youth, 21, 22, 23, 25 ; 
physical strength, 26, 33 ; early 
literary efforts, 27; temperance, 
26 ; earns a dollar, 29 ; personal ap- 
pearance, 31; first public speech, 
31 ; splitting rails, 31 ; postmaster, 
43 ; Black Hawk Indian war — a 
captain — quells a mutiny, 35-38 ; 
love affairs, 45, 54 ; entrance into 
political life, 41 ; becomes a mer- 
chant, and studies law, 42 ; sur- 
veying studies, 43 ; legal expe- 
riences, 61, 62, 63 ; personal 
popularity, 57; elected to legisla- 
ture, 44, 45, 70 ; removal to Spring- 
field, and practice of law, 53 ; 
generosity, 57; enters Congress — 
first speech, 58; Presidential can- 
didate, 54; declines nomination to 
the Senate, 70; " house-divided- 
against-itself "speech, 75 ; nomina- 
tion for Presidency, 79, 80, 81, 82 ; 
lectures in New York and Eng- 
land, 79, 80, 81; elected Presi- 
dent, 85 ; address at Springfield, 
89 ; inaugural speech, 97 ; first 
Cabinet, 100 ; wise forbearance, 
103 ; his mercy, 172, 175 ; second 
election, 199 ; assassination, 225 ; 
death, 227 ; funeral procession, 
231; lying in state, 231; inter- 
ment, 232 ; general summary of 
character, 233-244; wit and 
humour, 240, 241, 242. 
Long Nine, the, 46, 47. 

Mason and Slid dell affair, 131. 
M'Clellan, General, 115; apathy of, 

140. 
Merrimac, the, 141. 



Mexican war, 59. 

Mexico, the French in, 167. 

Nasby, Petroleum V., 236. 
Negroes, reception of. 204. 

Pea Ridge, battle of, 138. 
Port Hudson, surrender of, 162. 
Privations in the South, 185. 
Proclamation of April 15, 1861, 105. 
Prosperity of the North, 180. 

Quantrill's guerillas, 170. 

Rebellion, breaking out of, 91, 94; 

progress of, iii. 
Religion and irreligion, 55, 56. 
Republican party, origin of, 72. 
Richmond, fall of, 213. 
Riot in New York, 165. 

Sanitary fairs, 182. 
Secession, 86, 87, 93. 
Seward, W. A., reluses to meet the 

Rebel Commissioners, 102. 
Sherman's march, 188, 193. 
Shiloh, battle of, 138. 
Slavery — slave trade, 103 ; argument 

against. 71 ; slave party, 64, 65. 
Sumter, fall of Fort, 104. 
Surrender of Confederate forces, 216. 

Tennessee, the campaign in, 163. 
Todd, Mary, 55. 

Union troops attacked, 106. 

Virginia's secession, 109, 115. 

War, organisation of, 113. 
Wilderness, battle of the, 192. 
Wilmot's proviso, 66.